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The Passing of an Illusion The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century cover
  • ISBN: 9780226273402
  • ISBN10: 0226273407

The Passing of an Illusion The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century

by Francois Furet

  • List Price: $38.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1999
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Description
The late Francois Furet was acknowledged as this century's preeminent historian of the French Revolution. But several years before his untimely death, he turned his attention to the consequences and aftermath of the Communist revolution. The result was The Passing of an Illusion, a book that sparked discussion and controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Now available in English, The Passing of an Illusion can be understood, certainly, as a study of Communism but also as a history of the myth of Communism as perpetuated by its admirers.

Furet brilliantly illuminates how the support for Communism and its embodiment, the Soviet Union, became virtually synonymous with "anti-Fascism" and how this strategic arrangement reverberated through the West. During the first half of the century, to be against the Soviet Union (and its Communism), argues Furet, was tantamount to betraying the fight against Fascism, despite the fact that both Fascism and Communism ultimately spring from the same nationalist impulse. Thus the struggle against Fascism resulted in the sanitizing or glorification of Communism. This whitewashing of the Soviet regime's excesses not only kept alive the myth and attractiveness of the Communist promise but also had complex moral, intellectual, and political ramifications for the West.

Translated into thirteen languages, The Passing of an Illusion is a penetrating history of the ideological passions that have fueled and characterized the modern era. It serves as a bold and sweeping effort to revise our understanding of the twentieth century at the fin de siecle.

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