10 books like The Socialist Phenomenon

By Igor Shafarevich,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Socialist Phenomenon. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Heaven on Earth

By Joshua Muravchik,

Book cover of Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism

If one wants to find a world history of the socialist phenomenon in a user-friendly format, this is your book to turn to. Muravchik is not only a good scholar, but he is also a good writer. A former member of the democratic socialist movement in the United States, he combines a deep knowledge of his subject and a lively narrative accompanied by representative anecdotes. You will not be able to put this text aside. It represents a collection of critical essays on socialist experiences from Robert Owen, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin to Western European democratic socialism, African socialism in Tanzania, and kibbutzim in Israel. Besides, the reader will enjoy a comparative chapter on the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and its partial dismantling in China. For this second edition of his book, Muravchik added a special chapter that explores the current rise of socialism in Western…

Heaven on Earth

By Joshua Muravchik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heaven on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Socialism was man's most ambitious attempt to supplant religion with a doctrine claiming to ground itself in “science.” Each failure to create societies of abundance or give birth to “the New Man” inspired more searching for the path to the promised land: revolution, communes, social democracy, communism, fascism, Arab socialism, African socialism. None worked, and some exacted a staggering human toll. Then, after two centuries of wishful thinking and bitter disappointment, socialism imploded in a fin de siècle drama of falling walls and collapsing regimes. It was an astonishing denouement but what followed was no less astonishing. After the hiatus…


Socialism

By Christian Niemietz,

Book cover of Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

This volume complements well the Muravchik book. Written in an easy user-friendly language, the text represents a set of short essays that deal with socialist construction in various countries (Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Kim Il Sung North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castor’s Cuba, Chavez Venezuela). Besides these well-known cases of socialism, Niemietz, a libertarian scholar of a German extract, gives an excellent succinct analysis of the Eastern German communist regime from 1945 to its collapse in 1989.  The reader should also benefit from reading his comprehensive introductory chapter on the enduring appeal of socialism. Both high and home school and college instructors, who want to challenge the dominant socialism-friendly educational mainstream, may want to use Muravchik’s book and this one as textbooks.

Socialism

By Christian Niemietz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Socialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Socialism is strangely impervious to refutation by real-world experience.
Over the past hundred years, there have been more than two dozen attempts to build a socialist society, from the Soviet Union to Maoist China to Venezuela. All of them have ended in varying degrees of failure.
But, according to socialism's adherents, that is only because none of these experiments were "real socialism".
This book documents the history of this, by now, standard response.
It shows how the claim of fake socialism is only ever made after the event. As long as a socialist project is in its prime, almost nobody…


Socialism

By Michael Newman,

Book cover of Socialism: A Very Short Introduction

This short book by a UK humanities professor represents a very brief sympathetic history of socialism written from the left perspective that currently dominates our academic mainstream. In a benign manner and downplaying the dark sides of socialism, Newman narrates the history of the socialist phenomenon from the 1820s “utopian socialism” and Marxism to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution (Stalinist terror has been totally skipped), and to the current eco-socialism and socialist feminism. The best and most informative parts of the book are chapters on Cuban communism and the so-called Swedish model of socialism. I recommend this brochure as a textbook to those who are either committed to the socialist creed or reluctant to critically approach this phenomenon.

Socialism

By Michael Newman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Socialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is socialism? Does it have a future, or has it become an outdated ideology in the 21st century?

This Very Short Introduction considers the major theories in socialism, and explores its historical evolution from the French Revolution to the present day. Michael Newman argues that socialism has always been a diverse doctrine, while nevertheless containing a central core of interconnected values and goals: a critique of capitalism; an optimistic view of human beings; and the belief that it is possible to establish societies based on egalitarianism, social solidarity, and
co-operation. In this new edition, he draws on case studies…


Stalked by Socialism

By Jana Kandlova,

Book cover of Stalked by Socialism: An Escapee from Communism Shows How We'Re Sliding into Socialism

This is a captivating, personalized memoir that simultaneously explores the current ascent of socialism in the United States. The author escaped Eastern European communism in 1988, during its decaying stage, and moved to the United States in hope that she would enjoy freedom of speech and individual liberty in this country. Yet, to her surprise, she had to deal with the escalating rise of the left in the United States that has been recently seeking to curtail the freedom of speech and impose a greater regulation, trying to replace equality of opportunity with the equality of outcomes. Designed as a warning for Western audiences, Kandlove’s book samples the miseries of her daily life under socialism in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and the 1980s. She also provides revealing anecdotes of her encounters with various Western “useful idiots” who peddle socialism and do not want to learn from history.

Stalked by Socialism

By Jana Kandlova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stalked by Socialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1988, 19 year-old Jana Kandlova (aka Jane Benson) escaped from communist Czechoslovakia and came to the United States to live and thrive in a free country. Upon her arrival, her euphoria was so intense she could actually "smell the freedom." But, thirty years later, she has become alarmed and anxious as she witnesses the United States heading towards many of the same socialistic/communist ideals she fought so hard to get away from. In this fascinating story, she sounds a serious warning to all who believe in "free lunch."


Visions of China

By Marc Riboud,

Book cover of Visions of China: Photographs, 1957-1980

A gentle observer of a nation undergoing transformation. Riboud witnessed a wide range of people from the top leaders mingling with Western diplomats to steelworkers, farmers, and students. At a time when most foreign visitor's access was highly restricted and choreographed scenes of socialist paradise were the norm he somehow managed to capture the energy and spontaneity of his subjects. By singling out individuals who were not reacting to his presence he allows their dignity to shine through. His compositions invariably elegant and technically beyond reproach nevertheless are full of life, particularly his earlier work.

Visions of China

By Marc Riboud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visions of China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English, French (translation)


World History and National Identity in China

By Xin Fan,

Book cover of World History and National Identity in China

Over the last twenty years, China has become one of the most powerful nation-states in the world, both economically and politically. Since 1949 it has been ruled by a Communist Party which is still claiming today that is pursuing socialism with a Chinese face. It unites a turbo-capitalism with a strong nationalism that seeks to bring the Chinese people behind the Communist Party. This book shows how alien nationalism is to many of China’s most distinguished intellectual traditions over the course of the twentieth century. Especially those historians working on non-Chinese topics have for a long time attempted to use their cross-cultural competencies to counter nationalist historical narratives.

World History and National Identity in China

By Xin Fan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World History and National Identity in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nationalism is pervasive in China today. Yet nationalism is not entrenched in China's intellectual tradition. Over the course of the twentieth century, the combined forces of cultural, social, and political transformations nourished its development, but resistance to it has persisted. Xin Fan examines the ways in which historians working on the world beyond China from within China have attempted to construct narratives that challenge nationalist readings of the Chinese past and the influence that these historians have had on the formation of Chinese identity. He traces the ways in which generations of historians, from the late Qing through the Republican…


Mao's China and After

By Maurice Meisner,

Book cover of Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic

Generally speaking, there is a tendency both in China and the West to view the rise of China as the result of post-Mao reform. Mao is either perceived as a monster at worst or hopeless in economies at best. Deng Xiaoping takes the largest credit for China’s spectacular economic takeoff. Meisner is one of the first who presents a balanced view of China’s contemporary development, presenting convincing evidence to show that China’s industrialization and modernization started in the era of Mao.

Mao's China and After

By Maurice Meisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mao's China and After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When MAO'S CHINA first appeared in 1977, it was hailed as the single most useful general volume on recent Chinese history, covering every important question of the time with clarity and amazing insight. Now, Meisner brings the third edition of his definitive work, with new information provided throughout the classic study. Including a whole new section in Part Six, 'Deng Xiaoping and the Origins of Chinese Capitalism: 1976-1998', Meisner assesses the country's uneasy relationship with democracy, socialism and capitalism. Retaining the elegance, lucidity and comprehensiveness he is known for, Meisner moves far beyond his previous work to paint a never-before-seen…


Woman Under Socialism

By August Bebel,

Book cover of Woman Under Socialism

Written while August Bebel was serving a jail term under Germany’s anti-socialist laws, Woman and Socialism was published in over fifty editions and in more than twenty languages between 1879 and 1914. The first English edition was published in 1908 and became something of a sensation in the United Kingdom and the United States. Unlike other men in the labor movement at the time, Bebel believed that women were the full equals of men and should have the same economic, social, and political rights. More importantly, he argued that socialism would give women economic independence, and that this would allow them more freedom in their personal lives, including in their choice of a sexual partner. The book sometimes feels as radical today as it was 150 years ago.

Woman Under Socialism

By August Bebel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman Under Socialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.


People's Power

By Ashley Dawson,

Book cover of People's Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons

In order to have socialism, we need to have a planet on which to be socialists—preferably a planet that isn’t constantly on fire or under water from climate change. So we need to convert our energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind, but as Ashley Dawson argues in this great book, we can’t afford to then let energy corporations start owning sunlight and air the way they do oil and coal. 

People’s Power introduces us to the age-old idea of commonly owned natural resources and looks to modern examples from around the world where cities, towns, and countries and pioneering ways to make the “energy commons” a reality.

People's Power

By Ashley Dawson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked People's Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The science is conclusive: to avoid irreversible climate collapse, the burning of all fossil fuels will have to end in the next decade. In this concise and highly readable intervention, Ashley Dawson sets out what is required to make this momentous shift: simply replacing coal-fired power plants with for-profit solar energy farms will only maintain the toxic illusion that it is possible to sustain relentlessly expanding energy consumption. We can no longer think of energy as a commodity. Instead we must see it as part of the global commons, a vital element in the great stock of air, water, plants,…


Women, the State and Revolution

By Wendy Z. Goldman,

Book cover of Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917 1936

This deeply researched book explores the massive upheavals that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in the young Soviet Union. By mining a rich body of archival research, Goldman reveals just how radical Soviet policies to emancipate women really were in their historical context. More importantly, she uncovers the heated debates that characterized this early period of Soviet history before the rigidity and paranoia of Stalinism takes over and he reverses many of the early gains.

Women, the State and Revolution

By Wendy Z. Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women, the State and Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they believed that under socialism the family would 'wither away.' They envisioned a society in which communal dining halls, daycare centres, and public laundries would replace the unpaid labour of women in the home. Yet by 1936 legislation designed to liberate women from their legal and economic dependence had given way to increasingly conservative solutions aimed at strengthening traditional family ties and women's reproductive role. This book explains the reversal, focusing on how women, peasants, and orphans responded to Bolshevik attempts to remake the family, and how their opinions and experiences in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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