Communism: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Aug 27, 2009 - Political Science - 155 pages
If now in decline since the tumultuous events of 1989, communism was without doubt the great political movement of the twentieth century--at its peak, more than a third of the world's population lived under communist rule--and it is still a powerful force in many areas of the world, most notably in the People's Republic of China. What is communism? Where did the idea come from and what attracted people to it? Is there a future for communism? This Very Short Introduction considers these questions and more in the search to explore and understand this controversial political force. Explaining the theory behind its ideology, and examining the history and mindset behind its political, economic and social structures, Leslie Holmes considers the evolution of communism from Marx's time, to its practice in the Bolshevik Revolution, to its collapse in 1989-91. Holmes highlights the inner dynamics, crises, and demise of communism as a global system, and introduces the major players in the communist world, including Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

About the Series Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

 

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Contents

1 The theory of communism
1
2 A brief history of communism in power
17
3 The political system of communism
52
4 The economic system of communism
69
5 Social policies and structures of communism
85
6 Communisms international allegiances
102
7 The collapse of communism and the future
118
Further reading
139
Chronology
145
Index
147
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About the author (2009)

Leslie Holmes is Professor of Political Science and Deputy Director of the Contemporary Europe Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. He has researched communism and post-communism for almost forty years. He is the author of The Policy Process in Communist States, Politics in theCommunist World, The End of Communist Power, Post-Communism, and Rotten States'.

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