Communism

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the mid-19th century, Karl Marx looked at a world in which greedy capitalists made enormous profits, while millions of expropriated workers lived in poverty and misery. From these raw materials and a background in Hegelian philosophy, Marx crafted a belief system that was swiftly adopted by many other socialist thinkers. Over the years Marx's ideas took root among both organized socialist parties and more radical communist underground groups. In the twentieth century communist groups were able to seize power in nations such as Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cuba. Once in power those cadres established states that provided a broad safety net of egalitarianism on the surface, while simultaneously morphing into dictatorships of the most savage nature. Under leaders such as Stalin, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh communist states were established that wrenched their peasant nations into the modern age. However, as the author of this fine title in the "Systems of Government" series recounts, those same communist regimes brutally suppressed, imprisoned, purged, and murdered tens of millions of people. Here, readers are offered an excellent introduction to a political system that still rules in nations encompassing more than 20% of the world's population. Communist nations represent a dichotomy of equality with privilege based upon rhetoric stressing comradeship while enacting brutal repression. This is the conundrum of communism, and it is one that is well laid out in this excellent illustrated work. 2006, World Almanac Library, Ages 12 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-These titles describe four primary forms of government. Specific examples, both from large and small countries and from many periods in history, help to clarify the definitions and highlight the small differences that exist even among similar governments. Most importantly, the authors note throughout how governments have changed over time and the influences that have affected such change, Russia being an excellent example. Some inconsistencies and overlapping information are apparent in the four volumes, as both Dowswell and Grant discuss Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro in some depth, which could be confusing to students who might then equate communism with dictatorship. Woolf mentions Myanmar, which has a brutal dictatorship, as a "struggling democracy," but it is never discussed in Dowswell's book. These titles would be more useful as a single volume, thus eliminating any discrepancies. The writing is generally clear, but occasionally lapses into lengthy explanations become convoluted. Historical and contemporary photographs offer visual reference for specific people or points of interest, and small sidebars are particularly interesting and helpful.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780237539344
  • Publisher: Evans, M. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009

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