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The Rise and Fall of Communism

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  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fascinating look at THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM.

    Mr. Brown puts together a deep perspective on the Communist phenomena touching on the writings of Marx and Engles in the nineteenth century and those who were precursors of the "founding fathers"; loosely like Locke's influence on America's "Founding Fathers". Obviously the prime focus is in the twentieth century but also somewhat in this past decade. Although the author looks at the final five survivors of Communism (Cuba, China, North Korea, Viet Nam and Laos) and their attempts for footholds in Africa and the Caribbean, the tome mostly focuses on the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe Bloc behind the Iron Curtain, which Mr. Brown admits has been his major area of study. The insight into the Gorbachev-Yeltsin transition period is especially powerful and enlightening as Mr. Brown insists that Gorbachev's reforms led to unintended consequences for the party and the empire. In every case except for the rather short Prague Spring, Trotsky's theory of the party substituting for the workers always led to harsh dictatorships and usually to internal power struggles especially when change at the top occurred. Well written throughout the large volume, the conclusions are profound based on solid arguments; for instance the surviving nations all claim the purest form of communism, as each governs differently and that the utopian socialist workers' state has never been attained. However, once again it is the fall of the Iron Curtain that is the most insightful section of a fascinating look at THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM.

    Harriet Klausner

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