The Red Flag

  • by David Priestland
  • Narrated by Paul Boehmer
  • 28 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Communism was one of the most powerful political and intellectual movements the world has ever seen. At the height of their influence, Communists controlled more than a third of the Earth's surface. But perhaps more astonishing than its rapid rise and extraordinary reach was Communism's sudden, devastating collapse in November of 1989.
In The Red Flag, Oxford professor David Priestland tells the epic story of a movement that has taken root in dozens of countries across 200 years, from its birth after the French Revolution to its ideological maturity in 19th-century Germany to its rise to dominance (and subsequent fall) in the 20th century.
Beginning with the first modern Communists in the age of Robespierre, Priestland examines the motives of thinkers and leaders including Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Che Guevara, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gorbachev, and many others. He also asks what it was about Communism that inspired its rank and file - whether the militants of 1920s Russia, the guerrilla fighters of China, or the students of Ethiopia - and explores the experience of what it meant to live under Communism for its millions of subjects. He shows how Communism, in all its varieties, appealed to different societies for different reasons, in some as a response to inequalities and in others more out of a desire to catch up with the West. But paradoxically, while destroying one web of inequality, Communist leaders were simultaneously weaving another. It was this dynamic, together with widespread economic failure and an escalating loss of faith in the system, that ultimately destroyed Soviet Communism itself.
At a time when global capitalism is in crisis and powerful new political forces have arisen to confront Western democracy, The Red Flag is essential listening if we are to apply the lessons of the past to navigating the future.
Cover photo of Che Guevara copyright 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

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Most Helpful

Best History of Communism I Have Seen


China is now conducting the obligatory show trials that have been going on in "Communist Places" the better part of an entire century. Listen to The Red Star for the best history of these people I have ever seen. Very long but hardly a word in excess. Marx, Engels, Lenin, the entire crew have been a plague upon the planet for about 150 years. And this sort of thing is by now a very old story.

Marxists have visited upon humanity about the same benefits as the malarial mosquito. I believe it is a toss up which one has managed the higher mortality rate.

And it gets worse. China is in about the same level of nationalism Japan had in the first half of the twentieth century. This is very bad and very dangerous news indeed.

Communism.
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- David "Hellicopter Man"

Time well spent for history buffs

Provides a wide and deep perspective on world events in the last century. The reader is EXTRAORDINARY in his pronunciation of names and places in many languages. Not the most exciting book, but fills in a lot of detail on a subject that is oversimplified in every other place we encounter it.
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- Christopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios