Just a few generations ago, socialism was regarded as the wave of the future by millions of "enlightened" thinkers across the world; the promise of socialism motivated hard-line Marxists, Western-educated men of the Third World who fought for political independence, and Americans and Europeans repelled by the inequalities of capitalism. Now, of course, socialism is widely discredited; even former Communists in Eastern Europe proclaim allegiance to a market economy. This engrossing history of various socialist movements is told through portraits of the leaders who provided the intellectual and political support for those movements. With eloquence, skepticism, and even sympathy, Muravchik examines the careers of figures as varied as Friedrich Engels, Clement Atlee, and Julius Nyerere. Although each had a somewhat different interpretation of socialism, they all shared the fatal assumption that they could use the coercive power of the state to "improve" human nature. This is an important work and an object lesson showing great harm is frequently done by those with the purest motives. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"In this sweeping and accessible survey, Muravchik places his focus on the personalities who determined the shifting fortunes of socialism."