Comrades : Communism: A World History, Paperback Book

Comrades : Communism: A World History Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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 Sunday


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History: specific events & topics
  • ISBN: 9780330439688

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

For an expert on Communism, Robert Service doesn't have many kind words to say for his subject which must make for a depressing speciality. In fact this is less a history of communism than a history of Russian Communism. Although Service feels obliged to add chapters on China, which feels somewhat outside his competence, and does include a sympathetic treatment of Cuba, other communist regimes globally are dismissed in a couple of pages. In fact Service is best on the growth of Communism before WWII - he is expert on the rise of the government in Russia, internal disagreements, the Second and Third International, Comintern, Communism in Europe etc. But after the war really all Service wants to do is rant about lack of freedoms, human rights abuses - and look these are things we know about already. The leaders of Eastern Europe are particularly scantily treated; we know they were under the thrall of Moscow but there must be something more to say about them than that? So a good half a book but it didn't add much to my knowledge of post war Communism

Review by

Out of Service's books on Communism, this is both his broadest and unfortunately, his weakest. The scope is impressive, particularly in the particulars of communism in lesser-known situations such as in Chile or during the Spanish Civil War. However, it often feels like the author is merely rushing over facts without much time for further analysis or in-depth study.

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