Communism: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)

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9780812968644: Communism: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)

With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime’s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated.

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Review:

As Harvard University professor Richard Pipes shows in Communism: A Brief History, the tragedy of Communism is that its history was anything but brief. For most of the 20th century, it held much of the globe in its fatal grip: The utopian ideology is responsible for nearly 100 million deaths, which is 50 percent more than the number of people killed in the two world wars combined. "Communism was not a good idea that went wrong; it was a bad idea," writes Pipes, who is also the author of The Russian Revolution and Property and Freedom.

This compelling little book is a devastating critique of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, and everything else that fits under the awful rubric of Communism. It begins by tracing Communism's philosophical origins (it has antecedents in Plato) and then outlines the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Next comes the story of why Communism took root in Russia and not the industrial West, where Marx himself believed it would sprout (answer: the traditions of property rights and the rule of law were too strong). Even in Russia, Communism was not the product of popular demand (in fact, it has never been the product of popular demand anywhere). Instead, it was a top-down revolution imposed on the whole country by a small minority of elites, led by Lenin. The Communists claimed to represent workers, but few workers were actually a part of their movement. Thus, "the Communists had to rule despotically and violently; they could never afford to relax their authority." And they were capable of incredible cruelty: "The so-called purges of the 1930s were a terror campaign that in indiscriminate ferocity and number of victims had no parallel in world history." In 1937 and 1938, for instance, the Soviet rulers of Russia executed an average of 1,000 people per day; the tsarist regime they supplanted, which was often criticized as inhumane, executed less than 4,000 people for political crimes over an 85-year period.

Though Pipes appropriately spends much time discussing the Soviet Union, he also examines Communism's reception in the West and in developing countries. The book is a concise tour de force. As the cold war fades into history, it is critical not to forget the monstrous legacy of Communism, whose horrible record Pipes lays out on these pages. This is a magnificent book, a wonderful primer on a topic whose importance is difficult to overstate. --John Miller

From the Back Cover:

“In the name of great good, Communism has brought great evil. . . . If you’ve wondered how your children and grandchildren are going to grasp this large and alien reality, a good move is to make sure they own this book.” —The Weekly Standard

“The publication of Richard Pipes’ Communism: A History . . . is of signal importance. One cannot put it down without realizing, once and for all, that the road to utopia is paved with the bodies of the innocent—and leads nowhere.” —Baltimore Sun

“I wish every university student . . . would read this grim book.” —Paul Johnson

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Baird Professor of History Richard Pipes
Editore: Random House USA Inc, United States (2003)
ISBN 10: 0812968646 ISBN 13: 9780812968644
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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780812968644

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Baird Professor of History Richard Pipes
Editore: Random House USA Inc, United States (2003)
ISBN 10: 0812968646 ISBN 13: 9780812968644
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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780812968644

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Baird Professor of History Richard Pipes
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ISBN 10: 0812968646 ISBN 13: 9780812968644
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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780812968644

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Descrizione libro Random House Publishing Group 2003-08-05, New York, 2003. paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria 9780812968644

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