Thinking Like a Communist: State and Legitimacy in the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba

Tony Smith, Author
Tony Smith, Author W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02430-2
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
In three communist countriesthe Soviet Union, China and Cubaa strong-man ruler (Stalin, Mao, Castro) used a personality cult as the basis for industrializing his country through state planning and mobilization of the rural masses. Tufts professor Smith traces common elements in these societies to Lenin's concept of the vanguard partywhich continually widened the gap between leaders and those led. But there were differences among the three. Unlike the Soviet Union, China and Cuba each relied on ideological campaigns to forge a ""new socialist man.'' Smith intends for readers to understand ``what it means to think like a communist'' in each society, so he traces each system's roots in Marxist-Leninist thought. Gauging the prospects for reforming each monolithic system from within, he predicts that unless the communist state starts to ``wither away,'' these countries will fall further behind the West and Japan in technology. (June 29)
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