The Communists: The Story of Power and Lost Illusions, 1948-1991

Adam Bruno Ulam, Author Scribner Book Company $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19236-9
A masterful, dramatic narrative provides an essential historical perspective on unfolding events in the former Soviet Union. In broad strokes Harvard historian Ulam ( The Bolsheviks ) traces communism's decline and disintegration from Tito's break with the Kremlin and China's Maoist rivalry with Russia to the unraveling of Soviet-American detente, Eastern Europe's rejection of the iron yoke and the perestroika -inspired crumbling of the entire Soviet edifice. Ulam shows how the cult of the leader, perfected by Stalin, blinded many to the fact that international communism was a tool of Soviet foreign policy; the promise of social justice and material progress deceived true believers in both the East and West. The book tellingly compares Gorbachev to Khrushchev: both men tried to portray Marxism-Leninism, once cleansed of its Stalinist accretions, as a vital constructive force--but Gorbachev found out, too late, that glasnost spelled the doom of an obsolete system. The scope is global, the writing taut in this timely, definitive eulogy of the communist movement. History Book Club alternate. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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