Communism: A History

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Random House Publishing Group, Nov 6, 2001 - History - 192 pages
2 Reviews
From one of our greatest historians, a magnificent reckoning with the modern world's most fateful idea.

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. Drawing on much new information, Richard Pipes explains the countryís evolution from the 1917 revolution to the Great Terror and World War II, global expansion and the Cold War chess match with the United States, and the regime's decline and ultimate collapse. There is no more dramatic story in modern history, nor one more crucial to master, than that of how the writing and agitation of two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers named Marx and Engels 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Communism: a history

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Pipes brings to this short study unsurpassed credentials as a historian of 19th- and 20th-century Russia. His Russia Under the Old Regime (LJ 3/15/75. o.p.) offered, at much greater length than ... Read full review

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If you love anti-communist diatribe, you will love this book. This remains the one book in my entire life that I have ever bought, read, then insisted on returning for a refund. Even if you want to argue that he has a point in various aspects of history, the fact that the entire book is written in a style of a massive appeal to emotion destroys any credibility this work could have. I advise students of history and ideology to pass on this book. 


Title Page
Stalin and After
Reception in the West
The Third World
Looking Back
Suggestions for Further Reading

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About the author (2001)

Richard Pipes, Baird Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University, is the author of numerous books and essays, including The Russian Revolution, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, and Property and Freedom. In 1981-82 he served as President Reagan's National Security Council adviser on Soviet and East European affairs, and in 1992 he was an expert witness in the Russian Constitutional Court's trial against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chesham, New Hampshire.

From the Hardcover edition.

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