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Almost two decades have passed since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR Robert Service one of our finest historians of modern Russia sets out to examine the history of communism throughout the world His uncomfortable conclusion and an important message for the twenty first century is that although communism in its original form is now dead or dying the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive Unsettling compellingly written and brilliantly argued this is a superb work of history and one that demands to be read 'Bears all the hallmarks of a classic work of historical literature the true international legacy of communism is analysed to magisterial effect in this exhilarating work' Hwyel Williams New Statesman 'One of the best ever studies of the subject a remarkable accomplishment' Economist 'An outstanding book written with grace and style' Daily Telegraph 'A brilliantly distilled world history of communism Confronted by Service's amazing array of evidence to show that communism could only ever have flourished under conditions of extreme and all pervasive oppression only the determinedly softheaded would try to argue with him' Craig Brown Mail on SundayAlmost two decades have passed since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR Robert Service one of our finest historians of modern Russia sets out to examine the history of communism throughout the world His uncomfortable conclusion and an important message for the twenty first century is that although communism in its original form is now dead or dying the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive Unsettling compellingly written and brilliantly argued this is a superb work of history and one that demands to be read 'Bears all the hallmarks of a classic work of historical literature the true international legacy of communism is analysed to magisterial effect in this exhilarating work' Hwyel Williams New Statesman 'One of the best ever studies of the subject a remarkable accomplishment' Economist 'An outstanding book written with grace and style' Daily Telegraph 'A brilliantly distilled world history of communism Confronted by Service's amazing array of evidence to show that communism could only ever have flourished under conditions of extreme and all pervasive oppression only the determinedly softheaded would try to argue with him' Craig Brown Mail on SundayAlmost two decades have passed since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR Robert Service one of our finest historians of modern Russia sets out to examine the history of communism throughout the world His uncomfortable conclusion and an important message for the twenty first century is that although communism in its original form is now dead or dying the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive Unsettling compellingly written and brilliantly argued this is a superb work of history and one that demands to be read 'Bears all the hallmarks of a classic work of historical literature the true international legacy of communism is analysed to magisterial effect in this exhilarating work' Hwyel Williams New Statesman 'One of the best ever studies of the subject a remarkable accomplishment' Economist 'An outstanding book written with grace and style' Daily Telegraph 'A brilliantly distilled world history of communism Confronted by Service's amazing array of evidence to show that communism could only ever have flourished under conditions of extreme and all pervasive oppression only the determinedly softheaded would try to argue with him' Craig Brown Mail on Sunday


5 thoughts on “Comrades: Communism: A World History

  1. says:

    Robert Service has provided a decent detailed yet highly readable account of the world communist movement that leaves no stone unturnedMost of the book especially the earlier part is focused on the USSR but there is decent insight into Yugoslavia Cuba and China However Comrades is not a simple chronology of the world communist movement it is an account of the factors the attitudes and the evolving nature of communism and why it ultimately failedService begins with a theoretical analysis of pre Marxist communist followed with examination of Marx and Engels the early communist movement leading to the Russian Revolution While it focuses on the policies power struggles and other key factors it freuently backtracks to the attitudes and fortunes of people in communist parties all around the world particularly Great Britain Italy France and the USAThe only criticism one can have with Comrades is that certain countries perhaps some of the most severe such as Albania and North Korea could have done with some insight but with a book so decently constructed one can hardly uibbleService reaches a conclusion held by many that Communism as we knew in the Soviet or Maoist models is highly unlikely to ever return in such a guise However the legacy of communism is strongly ingrained and is unlikely to ever disappear in the near future Such a legacy is the burden on democratic development authoritarian practices and the continual nature of the Chinese state which retains all the key characteristics of communist authoritarianismRobert Service decently accounts for the failure of communism and with regard to the pivotal moment Perestroika he delivers a fairly positive portrait of Gorbachev but concedes that ultimately Gorbachev held a romanticized view of a caring humanitanitarian Lenin who ultimately never existed


  2. says:

    Like Communism itself this text of this book is dominated by the history of the USSR from 1917 to 1991 The result of this is that pre 1917 the often disparate ideas of those who called themselves Communists forms the basis of the text but afterwards any spirit of intellectual enuiry vanishes and the book is simply a straightforward history of the countries of the Eastern Bloc and China from 1949There are digressions into the West particularly the Italian and French Communist Parties and an amusing look at the splintered history of the British Communist movement but the majority of the book is an overview of the history of those countries that called themselves Communist or Socialist The unchecked nature of the policy pursued in those countries is established and while the book presents a factual base for all assertions the occasional authorial sideswipe at a regime or leader does sometimes jar; however this slight editorial mis step does rather pale against the crimes taking place in the countries themselvesCovering such a vast number of countries does mean that any individual focus can be lost the fall of the Ceaușescu regime takes two pages while there is hardly a mention of what happens to the Baltic states from 1945 to 1989 Latin America is covered in depth both Cuba and Chile are given a relatively sympathetic hearing with the government of Allende in Chile repeatedly shown to be the only near Communist state that did not repress its population The leaders in Eastern Europe post 1945 do not have the page count to get across any sense of individuality or motivation behind their actions with the possible exception of Tito making these sections of the book of a slog though it may be that this colourlessness accurately reflects the regimes in uestionThe excellent final chapter of the book suggests that Communism as demonstrated in the world should be seen as a peculiar accident of Russian history; if the Ten Days That Shook The World had failed to shake then it is unlikely that other Communist regimes would have either formed or been allowed to form by the capitalist states Speculation of this kind is absent from the earlier parts of the history and while this makes for a shorter book it suggests that a longer work may well have been an even rewarding one


  3. says:

    Comrades is probably the best one volume summary of the rise and fall of Communism you will find Certainly overshadowed in specific detail by books focusssing on certain leaders or revolutions but as an overall viewpoint this book is unbeaten Also very interesting as it went into the details about Communist organisations in non communist countries which I had not come across anywhere else


  4. says:

    Great


  5. says:

    Da