front cover of The Party Line
The Party Line
A Full-Length Play
Roger L Simon
St. Augustine's Press, 2013
THE PARTY LINE is a historical drama. Using real and fictional characters, it intermingles the story of Walter Duranty – the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Moscow correspondent in the 1930s – with the more contemporary story of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2002, on the eve of becoming prime minister. Sheryl Longin and Roger L. Simon have accomplished a breathtaking feat in their imaginative and topical play, The Party Line. The title, as students of Communism know, refers to one’s adherence to the current position on an issue as outlined by the Communist Party in its heyday. . . .

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The Passing of an Illusion
The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century
François Furet
University of Chicago Press, 1999
François Furet was acknowledged as the twentieth century's preeminent historian of the French Revolution. But years before his death, he turned his attention to the consequences and aftermath of another critical revolution—the Communist revolution. The result, Le passé d'une illusion, is a penetrating history of the ideological passions that have fueled and characterized the modern era.

"This may well be the most illuminating study ever devoted to the question of appeal exerted not only by Communism but also by the Nazi and other fascist varieties of totalitarianism in this century."—Hilton Kramer, New Criterion

"A subtle, nuanced but gripping study of the most pervasive and destructive illusion in the 20th century." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The Passing of an Illusion . . . is both a profound work of intellectual history that takes its place alongside other great studies of the leftist heresy . . . and a relentless diagnosis of the self-subversive risks that are inherent in democratic regimes. "—Roger Kaplan, Washington Times

" A remarkable book. . . . Stimulating and challenging. . . . A man widely read in several languages, Furet clearly knew his way around 20th-century Europe, even unto the dark alleys that figure on no existing map. "—Mark Falcoff, Commentary

"A history of ideas, this work is not for the faint of heart, yet those who challenge it will discover a signal contribution to the literature of Communism."—Booklist

"Imperious and stunningly confident, grand in conception and expansive in manner, packed with fascinating detail and often incisive judgements."—John Dunn, Times Higher Education Supplement

"The Passing of an Illusion is brilliant, and one would be hard pressed to find better writing of history than the first chapter, which traces the roots of modern political thinking back to the nineteenth century."—J. Arch Getty, Atlantic Monthly

"A brilliant and important book. . . . The publication of the American edition makes accessible to the general reader the most thought-provoking historical assessment of communism in Europe to appear since its collapse."—Jeffrey Herf, Wall Street Journal

François Furet (1927-1997), educator and author, was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and was elected, in 1997, to become one of the "Forty Immortals" of the Académie Française, the highest intellectual honor in France. His many books include Interpreting the French Revolution, Marx and the French Revolution, and Revolutionary France. Deborah Furet, his widow, collaborated with him on many projects.

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Passionate Amateurs
Theatre, Communism, and Love
Nicholas Ridout
University of Michigan Press, 2015

Passionate Amateurs tells a new story about modern theater: the story of a romantic attachment to theater’s potential to produce surprising experiences of human community. It begins with one of the first great plays of modern European theater—Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in Moscow—and then crosses the 20th and 21st centuries to look at how its story plays out in Weimar Republic Berlin, in the Paris of the 1960s, and in a spectrum of contemporary performance in Europe and the United States. This is a work of historical materialist theater scholarship, which combines a materialism grounded in a socialist tradition of cultural studies with some of the insights developed in recent years by theorists of affect, and addresses some fundamental questions about the social function and political potential of theater within modern capitalism. Passionate Amateurs argues that theater in modern capitalism can help us think afresh about notions of work, time, and freedom. Its title concept is a theoretical and historical figure, someone whose work in theater is undertaken within capitalism, but motivated by a love that desires something different. In addition to its theoretical originality, it offers a significant new reading of a major Chekhov play, the most sustained scholarly engagement to date with Benjamin’s “Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theatre,” the first major consideration of Godard’s La chinoise as a “theatrical” work, and the first chapter-length discussion of the work of The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, an American company rapidly gaining a profile in the European theater scene.

Passionate Amateurs contributes to the development of theater and performance studies in a way that moves beyond debates over the differences between theater and performance in order to tell a powerful, historically grounded story about what theater and performance are for in the modern world.


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Paths for Cuba
Reforming Communism in Comparative Perspective
Scott Morgenstern, Jorge Perez-Lopez, Jerome Branche
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018
The Cuban model of communism has been an inspiration—from both a positive and negative perspective—for social movements, political leaders, and cultural expressionists around the world. With changes in leadership, the pace of change has accelerated following decades of economic struggles. The death of Fidel Castro and the reduced role of Raúl Castro seem likely to create further changes, though what these changes look like is still unknown. For now, Cuba is opening in important ways. Cubans can establish businesses, travel abroad, access the internet, and make private purchases. Paths for Cuba examines Cuba’s internal reforms and external influences within a comparative framework. The collection includes an interdisciplinary group of scholars from around the world to explore reforms away from communism.


front cover of Patriots and Traitors in Revolutionary Cuba
Patriots and Traitors in Revolutionary Cuba
Lillian Guerra
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023
Authorities in postrevolutionary Cuba worked to establish a binary society in which citizens were either patriots or traitors. This all-or-nothing approach reflected in the familiar slogan “patria o muerte” (fatherland or death) has recently been challenged in protests that have adopted the theme song “patria y vida” (fatherland and life), a collaboration by exiles that, predictably, has been banned in Cuba itself. Lillian Guerra excavates the rise of a Soviet-advised Communist culture controlled by state institutions and the creation of a multidimensional system of state security whose functions embedded themselves into daily activities and individual consciousness and reinforced these binaries. But despite public performance of patriotism, the life experience of many Cubans was somewhere in between. Guerra explores these in-between spaces and looks at Cuban citizens’ complicity with authoritarianism, leaders’ exploitation of an earnest anti-imperialist nationalism, and the duality of an existence that contains elements of both support and betrayal of a nation and of an ideology. 

front cover of Post-Communism
An Introduction
Leslie Holmes
Duke University Press, 1997

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Power of Freedom
Hu Shih's Political Writings
Chih-p'ing Chou and Carlos Yu-Kai Lin, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Dr. Hu Shih (1891–1962) was one of China’s top scholars and diplomats and served as the Republic of China’s ambassador to the United States during World War II.  As early as 1941, Hu Shih warned of the fundamental ideological conflict between dictatorial totalitarianism and democratic systems, a view that later became the foundation of the Cold War narrative.  In the 1950s, after Mao’s authoritarian regime was established, Hu Shih started to analyze the development and nature of Communism, delivering a series of lectures and addresses to reveal what he called Stalin’s “grand strategy” for facilitating the International Communist Movement.

For decades—and today to a certain extent—Hu Shih’s political writings were considered sensitive and even dangerous.  As a strident critic of the Chinese Communist Party’s oligarchical practices, he was targeted by the CCP in a concerted national campaign to smear his reputation, cast aspersions on his writings, and generally destroy any possible influence he might have in China.  This volume brings together a collection of Hu Shih’s most important, mostly unpublished, English-language speeches, interviews, and commentaries on international politics, China-U.S. relations, and the International Communist Movement.  Taken together, these works provide an insider’s perspective on Sino-American relations and the development of the International Communist Movement over the course of the 20th century.

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