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About the book
  • Published: 1 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409016694
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 736

The Rise and Fall of Communism

The definitive and groundbreaking account of the revolutionary ideology that changed the modern world.

Winner of the 2010 W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize for Best Political Science Book of the Year 2010

The relentless rise of Communism was the most momentous political development of the first half of the twentieth century. No political change has been more fundamental than its demise in Europe and its decline elsewhere. In this hugely acclaimed book Archie Brown provides an indispensable history that examines the origins of the ideology, its development in different countries, its collapse in many states following the Soviet perestroika, and its current incarnations around the globe.

The Rise and Fall of Communism explains how and why Communists came to power; how they were able, in a variety of countries on different continents to hold on to power for so long; and what brought about the downfall of so many Communist systems. A groundbreaking work from an internationally renowned specialist, this is the definitive study of the most remarkable political and human story of our times.

  • Pub date: 1 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409016694
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 736

About the Author

Archie Brown

Archie Brown is a British political scientist and historian. He is Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and Emeritus Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. A Fellow of the British Academy since 1991, Professor Brown was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He has written widely on Soviet and Communist politics, the Cold War, and political leadership.

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Praise for The Rise and Fall of Communism

“Superb...a hugely readable book”

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

“At its peak, communism controlled one third of the human race...Brown's scholarly, well-paced and critical overview contributes brilliantly to a reasoned reassessment”

Sunday Times

“His account is studied with delightfully pertinent and pithy personal observations and anecdotes ....as a single-volume account of mankind's biggest mistake, Mr Brown's book is hard to beat”

The Economist

“To understand one of the central stories of the 20th century - read Brown's book”


“The breadth of his scholarship and research is hugely impressive... Brown offers clever insights, as well as some fascinating new revelations”

Evening Standard

“This book is the crowning achievement of Archie Brown's career... this volume will remain a definitive study of communism... Thank you, Archie Brown”

Oleg Gordievsky, Literary Review

“brilliantly succinct ... the breadth of the scholarship and research is hugely impressive ... Brown is good at finding an emblematic story to elaborate a point”

Victor Sebestyen, The Scotsman

“Comprehensive and impressive”

Financial Times

“'Few can match Brown for insider knowledge of the workings of the post-war Kremlin.'”

Tristram Hunt

“Archie Brown tells the history of these 70-odd years...with poise, a sense of balance and a judicious understanding of the differences between the varieties of communisms”

Donald Sassoon, The Guardian

“Archie Brown has become possibly Britain's leading expert on communism... superb book, which in just over 700 pages gives not only the history of communism, but also the background to it and the reasons for its decline.”

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

“A clear and expert account of the rise and fall of communism”

Marcus Earl, Weekend Review

“A stimulating read, which provides valuable insights”

Adam Fabry, Socialist Review

“His conclusions neatly balance the equally pertinent questions of why Communist systems collapse, and why they lasted so long”

Stephen Howe, Independent

“One of Britain's leading experts on communism provides a grimly humorous and richly anecdotal study”

George Pendles, Financial Times, History books of the year

“Scholarly, well-paced and critical...few can match him for insider knowledge”

Tristram Hunt, Sunday Times

“Balanced, insightful, illuminated by intriguing detail and flashes of humour, this worldwide panorama is a miracle of compression”

Christopher Hirst, Independent

“This superb book gives the history of the ideology and the reasons for its decline”

Simon Heffer, Telegraph

“It reads like Sovietology rendered by John le Carré”

Timothy Snyder

“The book is well written with flashes of mordant humour and sufficient records of personal foibles and institutional stupidity to keep the reader going through some dreadful moments of human history”

Political Studies Review

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