Communism: A Very Short Introduction

Leslie Holmes

Communism: A Very Short Introduction

Communism: A Very Short Introduction

  • Title: Communism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Author: Leslie Holmes
  • ISBN: 9780199551545
  • Page: 111
  • Format: Paperback

If now in decline since the tumultuous events of 1989, communism was without doubt the great political movement of the twentieth century at its peak, than a third of the world s population lived under communist rule and it is still a powerful force in many areas of the world, most notably in the People s Republic of China What is communism Where did the idea comeIf now in decline since the tumultuous events of 1989, communism was without doubt the great political movement of the twentieth century at its peak, than a third of the world s population lived under communist rule and it is still a powerful force in many areas of the world, most notably in the People s Republic of China What is communism Where did the idea come from and what attracted people to it Is there a future for communism This Very Short Introduction considers these questions and in the search to explore and understand this controversial political force Explaining the theory behind its ideology, and examining the history and mindset behind its political, economic and social structures, Leslie Holmes considers the evolution of communism from Marx s time, to its practice in the Bolshevik Revolution, to its collapse in 1989 91 Holmes highlights the inner dynamics, crises, and demise of communism as a global system, and introduces the major players in the communist world, including Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.About the Series Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life s most interesting topics Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Recent Comments "Communism: A Very Short Introduction"

A decent book that does what it says on the tin. The author makes clear that he's primarily writing about the practice of states claiming to be building communism, rather than the theory of communism. ie. it's a book about the real world rather than a theoretical tract. You should bear this in mind before deciding if that's what you want. I did, so I was happy.Weaknesses? I would have liked to have gained more insight on the political system of Communism from the chapter with that name. I didn't [...]

A thorough and well-balanced introduction.Chapter 1: The theory of communismChapter 2: A brief history of communism in powerChapter 3: The political system of communismChapter 4: The economic system of communismChapter 5: Social policies and structures of communismChapter 6: Communism's international allegiancesChapter 7: The collapse of communism - and the future

In terms of it being "A Very Short Introduction", I feel that it was perhaps too short. Having read it, I feel I have a better idea of what Communism entails than when I started, but my knowledge is very bitty and incomplete. Perhaps for me I should have begun with something even more basic, because my knowledge of 20th Century politics is quite pathetic, and I think the book assumed I would have a bit more awareness than I did.I can't help comparing it to the other Very Short Introduction I've [...]

While the series is meant to be a concise introduction to the topic, this book was barely an intro. The first part is on the ideology, very small and fails to tackle the essence of the ideology. When I finished reading this, and started going through the historical part, strong anti-Communist biases emerged. This book should be rather labelled "Communism as seen by Fox News".

An incisive introduction to an ideology much discredited (wrongly or rightly) but one, i predict, the world hasn't seen the last of

Like the other Very Short Introduction books, it packs a good introduction into a short book. I learned a decent broad outline of the history of communism in the 20th century. It gives a decent level of detail about the major players(Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao). I couldn't expect a great deal more in less than 150 pages, so a good book for someone without much knowledge of communism but is interested in gaining a foundation for study of Communism.

It was pretty enlightening as to the history of communism but either failed to perform in-depth class analysis/talk about dialectical materialism, or did so in an extremely forgettable manner. Also didn't really elaborate about different sub-sects of communist thought, simply explaining the general premise of communism.

This is a good introduction with a pretty thorough overview of the history of communism in the 20th century. It doesn’t really go into its origin but it does explain some of the trends and patterns practice by coming with state. I found it interesting and I did learn something although I have read quite a bit about it. I would recommend it.

a better title would probably have been "a history of governments that called themselves communist, a very short introduction" but otherwise it's a fine if slightly biased bourgeois history of actually existing communism that, to the author's credit, at least seems to understand dialectical materialism

Communism is an ideological and economic system that dominated vast regions of the World during the twentieth century. At its peak, almost a third of the World population lived under communist regimes. Even today 1.5 billion Chinese (and a few million others) live in countries that to varying degree espouse communist ideals. It is inconceivable to study the modern history without understanding communism in all of its manifestations. It would be impossible in a single book, especially one that is [...]

Leslie Holmes did an excellent job in summarizing the core of communism in theory and practice for a broad audience. Perhaps some will be disappointed by the limited discussion of the theory of communism, which is only central in the first chapter, but it gets the main ideas across, particularly for understanding communism in practice. The next chapters summarize the history of communist regimes, the political and economic systems, social policies, international allegiances, and the collapse of [...]

A slim and very high-level overview, as suggested by the title. (In its defense, though, the print is quite small.) The author clearly wants to make the point that Communism as practiced in the 20th century is flawed in almost every way. Even when possible benefits could be discussed, he's clear to point out that the West did it the same way or better. However, through his intro to Marxist thought and via comments made in various portions of the book, Holmes also emphasizes his opinion that the [...]

Where to start. First of all, misleading title as it is more an introduction to Marxist-Leninism. The author makes no mention of the utopian thinkers before Marx, who himself is introduced in only a couple of lines before we move over to Lenin where the supposed Grand History of Communism starts. The whole book felt biased and incoherent, trying to make a point by moving from country to country quickly with each paragraph just to point out the authors biased opinion on 'communism'. All together [...]

While capitalism is one extreme, communism is the other. I really liked the pace and the planned design of laying out a subject which can be utterly confusing at times. The words compel you to scrutinize the events that lead to the growth of communism. You tend to look at it more a radical force that was manipulated and was used means to personal ends. The book is truly enlightening and gives every major episode its deserved space instead of cluttering everything.

The book is full of non-objective, biased information on communism. I would not expect that from Oxford series, but all throughout the book, it only tells you how terrible is communism.Oxford Very Short Introduction serie should not do that, it should inform us, objectively. If the topic needs an argument, writer can include some of opposite one. But this book is like a WWII anti-communist booklet distributed in US.

Good introduction into Communism; Both theory and practice. While the book focuses on the Soviet Union's history a little too much, it is level headed and often reminds the reader how disparate policies can be from the original philosophy.

This is a quite light touch intro to historical communist regimes. Although the author makes his emphasis clear early on in the beginning, I would have preferred more theoretical reflection. In that sense the 'Socialism' volume in the VSI series is better.


A nice and concise explanation of communism, encompassing history, the economic system, etc. I enjoyed it and plan on reading more on the topic. I would recommend this book and the author.


Very insightful introduction to the history of communism.

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