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Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era Hardcover – December 15, 2009
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[T]he book, at last available in English in this fine translation, ought to command close attention because it was written by Jean-François Revel, whounlike such bien-pensant idols as Jean-Paul Sartre (an admirer of Stalin) and Michel Foucault (a cheerleader of the Ayatollah Khomeini)deserves to be ranked as the pre-eminent French political philosopher of the second half of the 20th century. What’s more, the book’s themes continue to resonate today, when murderous ideologies still compete for legitimacy and enlightened” understanding by the Western intelligentsia.”
&mdash The Wall Street Journal
Jean-François Revel was among the most distinguished intellectual dissenters of the last half-century. He was uniquely capable of disentangling the strands of misguided modernism, greed for power, and simple mendacity that led to the political collapse of the radical left. This book, his examination of the global attempt by survivors of the devastated edifice to perpetuate the influence of totalitarianism, as well as of its terrible antecedents, is bright with his characteristic perceptions. Revel’s much-admired, and much-feared, polemical style is brilliantly displayed in Last Exit to Utopia. This volume is an indispensable guidebook for those seeking to avoid the revived immoralities prevalent among the ideological elite.”
&mdash Stephen Schwartz, author of The Two Faces of Islam
Scary erudition, an unwavering commitment to reason, an urbane wit, literary brillianceJean-François Revel put all of his considerable talents into the noble project of defending freedom and democracy. In Last Exit to Utopia, he offers his testament: a reflection on the dangers of left-wing social hallucinations that will take its place in the canon of political thought.”
&mdash Brian C. Anderson, editor of City Journal
Top Customer Reviews
Classical liberalism was revived a decade before the collapse of communism with Thatcher's election victory in 1979 followed by that of Reagan the next year. Even under conservative governments the United Kingdom had remained the same stagnant, union-dominated, state-smothered bureaucracy that led to serious economic decline throughout the 1970s. The effects of the Reagan/Thatcher revolution swept the globe in the 1980s when deregulation and privatization became popular policies worldwide. In France, Mitterrand made a U-turn away from his disastrous statist programs as support for the Socialist & Communist Parties plummeted. A landmark was reached in 1984 when he jettisoned his government education plan.
So by the mid-1980s France's leftist parties had failed while in Britain the Labour Party and in (then) West Germany the Social Democrats had entered a lengthy phase of exclusion from power.Read more ›
and especially should have been more widely read in the West while he was still alive.
Densely written with masses of facts this serves as a very good precis
of the intellectual basis of both Nazism and Communism.
Pithy, witty and on occasion laugh out loud funny - quite a feat for such a serious book.
Another memorable thought is that the leftist Utopia enables the leftists to continue condemning that which exists on the basis of something which does not exist.
The most memorable part of the book, however, is Revel's painstaking dissection of the reaction of the Parisian left to the collapse of the USSR. Where almost anyone of normal intelligence would have concluded that the collapse of the Great Gulag indicated that Marxism was a failure, somehow those brilliant French "intellectuals" managed to work up an argument that "proved" that the collapse of the USSR was proof positive that democratic free-market principles had failed. (Well, I did tell you that in France, the word "intellectual" frequently translates as "moron," didn't I?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An absolute must read for those who interested in political philosophy. Revel brilliantly dissects the socialist mind set and shines a white-hot light on the nihilism that calls... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Scott
Revel's central thesis is the tortuous path the Communist left took to deny the horrors of totalitarianism, especially Stalinism. Read morePublished 18 months ago by reading man
This book explains to those who are curious why western countries including Europe and the US have not considered the truth about communism/socialism, that central planning by... Read morePublished on November 30, 2013 by CuriousOne
In his previous book The Flight from Truth, on page 79, Revel writes:
"Whether in the fields of economics, social guarantees, industrial modernization, freedom of the... Read more
Fantastic book. Almost too good,in that it got me all riled up. The style is a tribute to the art of Mr. Read morePublished on June 17, 2010 by AssOfBalaam
I bought the book for my husband, who has been telling me this is a "must read". It will explain what is happeniong right now in Washington.Published on January 23, 2010 by Ruth B. Ward