Hugely ambitious and boldly achieved, The Red Flag explores the roots, perversions, and manifold intellectual and geographic developments of the most dynamic and disruptive political movement of modern times, and David Priestland's compelling narrative explains how even in discredit and defeat it achieved a paradoxical success by forcing critical reforms in the ranks of its capitalist foes. (Martin Walker, Author Of 'the Cold War: A History' )
A mesmerizing survey of the ideological and political history of communism. Priestland successfully crafts a global account of communism's development and mutation across nations and generations, deftly combining academic rigour, personal histories and an engaging narrative. (Tristram Hunt )
David Priestland's The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World is an original, compelling history of Communism, exploring its global impact from the aftermath of the French Revolution to present-day China.
Communism was one of the most powerful movements of the modern world. At the height of its influence over a third of the global population lived under its rule. And yet very few predicted either its bewildering rise or sudden decline.
How did a contradictory measure of revolutionary romanticism and ruthless pragmatism succeed for so long? Why did it manage to inspire so many people - from the militants of 1920s Russia to the urban terrorists in 1970s Europe? The Red Flag charts the progress of Communism from Marx to Mao, from Stalin to Che Guevara, from the Bolsheviks and the guerrilla fighters of China to the Marxist students of Ethiopia and the Baader-Meinhof Group, showing how it helped shape the world we live in.
'Entertaining ... astute ... a fine new history of Communism'
John Gray, New Statesman
'Mesmerizing ... deftly combining academic rigour, personal histories and an engaging narrative'
'Priestland writes with elegance and style ... he introduces art, poetry, film and literature to illustrate his themes, which makes this a riveting cultural as well as political history'
Victor Sebestyen, Sunday Times
'The best and the most accessible one-volume history of Communism now available ... A far-reaching, vividly written account'
David Priestland has studied Communism in all its forms for many years, in both Oxford and Moscow State Universities. He is University Lecturer in Modern History at Oxford and a Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, and the author of Stalinism and the Politics of Mobilization. The Red Flag was shortlisted for the Longman/History Today prize.
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