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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed Modern Library Chronicles comes an exploration of a promising theory that when put to practice wreaked havoc on the world. An expert on communism, Richard Pipes follows the history of the Soviet Union from the 1917 revolution to the Cold War, and finally, to its deterioration and collapse.
©2001 Richard Pipes

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Edward
  • Brighton, MA, USA
  • 02-20-07

Right on the Money

This book is very informative and quite graphic with some of it's descriptions on the horror that communism has unleashed upon humankind. It charts the rise of socialist ideals with Marx and Engles and goes through the communist and socialist movements of the twentiethh century all the way up to the present day.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great debunking of communist myths

It won't change those who believe in the religion of Communism. But it provides more ammunition to those that understand what an evil philosophy it truly is.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mahmood
  • san diego, CA, United States
  • 03-23-10

its good

it was a short but fair and educative review of communism that shows the true nature of this ideology that it fails because it is wrong not because they couldnt perform it well and how dangerous it can become

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mazen
  • North Brunswick, NJ, USA
  • 07-06-06

Interesting but lacks objectivity

This book is essentially a condemnation of communism. The author was a member of the Reagan administration and it shows. On the other hand, the author succeeds in covering a very broad subject in an interesting manner. This is not a boring book.

The main failing of the book is that it makes no attempt to be objective. It's paints communism as almost unmitigated evil and communist leaders are evil men with no goodwill or conscience ... ever. I listened to the book to be informed, not to be indoctrinated, and that's precisely where the book fails for me.

On the other hand the book is interesting. It covers communism from its roots to modern times, reminding us of the causes and consequences of its rise in different nations (from its own point of view). Unsurprisingly, the book gives special attention to the USSR and its influence on world communism. While the book fails to be objective, it doesn't alter facts to suit its aims (as far as I could tell.) In other words, it may distort but it doesn't lie.

The author is clearly well informed and the book is an easy read. I hope that a future book or a future edition can be more objective.

20 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Achieved the Impossible

Amazing that the author could do such a good job of summarizing the history of communism. But the success of the USSR is understated, at least the part about the subversion of USA, Germany, Japan, and China. See Diana West, American Betrayal and M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History. The penetration of USA started early and lead to the adoption of foreign policy favorable to USSR but unfavorable to USA and others. Soviet agents in USA and Japan managed to get USA fighting Japan and Germany rather than maintaining two strong bookends to the USSR. Deftly got Germany into WWII by joining them only to switch sides and get military equipment and nuclear weapons through lend lease to conquer East Europe and promote the Korean War. Agents fabricated information about anti-communists in Eastern Europe and China to make it easy to kill off the anticommunists in those countries. They set Americans against Americans and corrupted our government to the core.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

Quite informative. A bit slow in a few spots, and I felt a bit missing in others.

But overall it is informative and worth a read.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful