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The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression


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Already famous throughout Europe, this international bestseller plumbs recently opened archives in the former Soviet bloc to reveal the actual, practical accomplishments of Communism around the world: terror, torture, famine, mass deportations, and massacres. Astonishing in the sheer detail it amasses, the book is the first comprehensive attempt to catalogue and analyze the crimes of Communism over seventy years.

"Revolutions, like trees, must be judged by their fruit," Ignazio Silone wrote, and this is the standard the authors apply to the Communist experience—in the China of "the Great Helmsman," Kim Il Sung's Korea, Vietnam under "Uncle Ho" and Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah. The authors, all distinguished scholars based in Europe, document Communist crimes against humanity, but also crimes against national and universal culture, from Stalin's destruction of hundreds of churches in Moscow to Ceausescu's leveling of the historic heart of Bucharest to the widescale devastation visited on Chinese culture by Mao's Red Guards.

As the death toll mounts—as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on—the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. An extraordinary accounting, this book amply documents the unparalleled position and significance of Communism in the hierarchy of violence that is the history of the twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674076082
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/15/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 912
Sales rank: 76,068
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Stéphane Courtois is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, and editor of the journal Communisme.

Nicolas Werth is a researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History.

Jean-Louis Panné collaborated on the Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français.

Andrzej Paczkowski is Deputy Director and a professor at the Institute for Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Karel Bartošek is acting head of research at CNRS and the editor of the journal La nouvelle alternative.

Jean-Louis Margolin is a lecturer in history and coordinator of lectures at the University of Provence and a researcher at the Research Institute on Southeast Asia of CNRS.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword: The Uses of Atrocity Martin Malia
  • Introduction: The Crimes of Communism Stéphane Courtois

I. A State against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union Nicolas Werth
  1. Paradoxes and Misunderstandings Surrounding the October Revolution
  2. The Iron Fist of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
  3. The Red Terror
  4. The Dirty War
  5. From Tambov to the Great Famine
  6. From the Truce to the Great Turning Point
  7. Forced Collectivization and Dekulakization
  8. The Great Famine
  9. Socially Foreign Elements and the Cycles of Repression
  10. The Great Terror (1936 -1938)
  11. The Empire of the Camps
  12. The Other Side of Victory
  13. Apogee and Crisis in the Gulag System
  14. The Last Conspiracy
  15. The Exit from Stalinism

  16. Conclusion
    II. Word Revolution, Civil War, and Terror Stéphane Courtois, Jean-Louis Panné, and Rémi Kauffer
  17. The Comintern in Action Stéphane Courtois and Jean-Louis Panné
  18. The Shadow of the NKVD in Spain Stéphane Courtois and Jean-Louis Panné
  19. Communism and Terrorism Rémi Kauffer

  20. III. The Other Europe: Victim of Communism Andrzej Paczkowski and Karel Bartoek
  21. Poland, the "Enemy Nation" Andrzej Paczkowski
  22. Central and Southeastern Europe Karel Bartoek

  23. IV. Communism in Asia: Between Reeducation and Massacre Jean-Louis Margolin and Pierre Rigoulot
  24. China: A Long March into Night Jean-Louis Margolin
  25. Crimes, Terror, and Secrecy in North Korea Pierre Rigoulot
  26. Vietnam and Laos: The Impasse of War Communism Jean-Louis Margolin
  27. Cambodia: The Country of Disconcerting Crimes Jean-Louis Margolin

  28. Conclusion
    Select Bibliography for Asia
    V. The Third World Pascal Fontaine, Yves Santamaria, and Sylvain Boulouque
  29. Communism in Latin America Pascal Fontaine
  30. Afrocommunism: Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique Yves Santamaria
  31. Communism in Afghanistan Sylvain Boulouque

  32. Conclusion: Why? Stéphane Courtois
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the Authors

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