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The God That Failed
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The God That Failed

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"The God That Failed" is a classic work and crucial document of the Cold War that brings together essays by six of the most important writers of the twentieth century on their conversion to and subsequent disillusionment with communism. In describing their own experiences, the authors illustrate the fate of leftism around the world. Andr? Gide (France), Richard Wright (the ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 10th 2001 by Columbia University Press (first published 1949)
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Matthew Williams
A book that has stuck with me over the years, in part because of its historicity and its personal touch. I especially loved Koestler's contribution, it was by far the most detailed and personal of the accounts. The ones that followed were interesting in parts, boring and topical in others. It seemed that the editors saw fit to put the most relevant accounts first (good call!) In any case, its a seminal read on the phenomena that took place during the interwar years and seemed to embrace the life ...more
Nathan Peterson
The best part of this book was the fact that these six authors were all originally attracted to communism.
The Initiates, the first section of the book, is written by three authors that were closely involved with the communist parties in pre-Nazi Germany, the USSR, and Italy. The next section of this was the Distant Admirers, those involved with the communists far away, in the United States, or merely visitors to these countries.
Much of this was dry, and hard to keep focus. Some experiences were
Thoughtful first-hand accounts that capture both the early moral zeal these writers felt toward Communism--their sense that it was the only theory of social organization that made moral sense--and then their path to disillusionment. Koestler's observation that he had time to become a Communist only after he found a job with a living wage was enlightening, as was Wright's bafflement at being labeled an "intellectual" at Party meetings--even though he made his living as a street sweeper--because h ...more
I’d read a lot about this book, in which six authors in the 1950s told of their disillusionment with Communism. But I’d never been able to track down an affordable copy of it. The one I got literally fell apart as I read it, and the essays were, in the end, disappointing. In general, I’d say they offered no more insight than any standard account of why intellectuals abandoned the Party after the heady days of its early fight against Fascism.

Of all the pieces, I liked the most that of Louis Fisc
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Originally published in 1949, it consists of six essays from intellectuals who had been either members of the Communist Party or "fellow travelers." The essays are personal narratives of why they had initially supported Communism and then what led them to abandon the movement.

The essayists included are: Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Richard Wright, Andre Gide, Louis Fischer, and Stephen Spender. While Silone's essay did not hold my a
I had my doubts on reading this book, knowing it would be an American propaganda book. But I read it anyway and it turned out to be pretty good. The first three stories were more appealing than the last three. The writers told their life's stories dealing with communism honestly.
richard wright and louis fischer stand-out stories, the rest is too dry/hyper-specific to be engaging
Laurent Szklarz
it's a very interesting book and its particularity is that it gives the views of six prominent writers on communism.
what bothered me was the date of its publishing. 1950. right in the middle of the storm of mccarthy in the usa. although i couldn't agree more with the views those writers argue, and by now, history proves them right, it does sounds a lot like they were sitting in front of a jury.a maccarthy commission,trying to convince them that their love story with communism was an error from
Prashanth Vaidyaraj
The falsity of the Utopian ideology stands exposed in this work. The reason a communist agenda will fail and is bound to be rejected by people over time is the reason why Communist regimes have fallen by the side. The ideology purported by Marx is in a Utopian world is a fact and can never work in the diverse world where people cherish their culture,traditions and history. The authors also note personal experiences of people who experienced Communism first-hand and the reasons for abandoning it.
Beth Haynes
May 13, 2009 Beth Haynes marked it as to-read
This looks good...but my priorities are drifting elsewhere. This book contains the stories (written by themselves) of six individuals who strongly and openly embraced Communism, and later came to see its tragic and evil flaws. They write of the difficulty and the psychological pain involved in revising their world view.
Of the six, I only recognized Richard Write, author of Native Son and Black Boy. I need to put this back on my to-read list for now but look forward to the time I can finish it.
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Very interesting collection of essays by 6 writers explaining how they got involved with Communism, then rejected it, in the 1930s. Most of the pieces were written expressly for this collection, Andre Gide's was compiled from his earlier writings about Communism and his experience touring the USSR. I especially liked Richard Wright's contribution, but the entire book is of historical interest, while its warnings on the perils of embracing ideology remain relevant today.
Karlo Mikhail
Classic anti-communist black propaganda. Much of it reiterates crude diatribes from the McCarthy period and can be readily refuted. Silone, for instance, has been later exposed to be a government agent. Reveals more about the author's subjectivity (an unremoulded individualism coupled with pessimism/false idealism re the former Soviet Union/overoptimistic impetuosity leading to disillusionment) rather than the real flaws of its subject.
Gw baca yang sudah di alih bahasakan ke bahasa Indonesia, dan dari sini dapat diketahui bahwa Komunisme merupakan paham yang baik namun karena diisi oleh manusia-manusia yang bejat dan tidak punya etika dalam hal keserakahannya maka paham tersebut menjadi hancur dan tidak dapat dipertahankan.
memang selalu bukan Paham-nya tetapi lebih kepada siapa manusianya.
What great personal stories from these writers, both in terms of what drew them toward Communism and how they became disenchanted with it. As we struggle to find our way forward in the world, addressing the economic and social problems facing us, their stories remain current. Our ideals tell us what we want, but reality intrudes and informs us what we can have.
Dr. Arun
This relates to those who have lived in Communist ruled states and has experienced the virtues and vices. The Essayists are all impeccable in their observations. However, all of six great minds have written something independently after their contribution in this work. it is worthwhile to explore those works as well for a complete picture.
"But no one who has not wrestled with Communism as a philosophy, and Communists as political opponents, can really understand the values of Western democracy. The Devil once lived in Heaven, and those who have not met him are unlikely to recognize an angel when they see one."
Michele Bergadano
Un'antologia di articoli di Arthur Koestler (Germania), Ignazio Silone (Italia), Stephen Spender (corrispondente americano), Richard Wright (USA), André Gide (Francia) e di alcuni altri intellettuali europei e americani ex-pro-sovietici, pubblicato nel 1949.
Read this long ago. The title may make some cringe but it's nonethless true that many oppressed saw communism as a new dawn, godlike, and in the end its failure was a crushing, almost obliterating blow.
An anthology of articles by Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Stephen Spender, Richard Wright, Andre Gide and some other ex-pro-Soviet European intellectuels, published in 1950.
Street Inker
I read the Indonesian version of this book. God That Failed (Kematian Tuhan Komunis)
May 26, 2009 Christopher marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, politics
Six writers and how they became disillusioned with communism.
I confess to only having read the Koestler piece.
Windyasari Septriani
communist' s bullshit
Jenninka marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Abdullah Qahtani
Abdullah Qahtani marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Ian marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Stephanie Sutcliffe
Stephanie Sutcliffe marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2014
Max marked it as to-read
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“that man is a reality, mankind an abstraction; that men cannot be treated as units in operations of political arithmetic because they behave like the symbols for zero and the infinite, which dislocate all mathematical operations; that the end justifies the means only within very narrow limits; that ethics is not a function of social utility, and charity not a petty bourgeois sentiment but the gravitational force which keeps civilization in its orbit.” 4 likes
“For the intellectual, material comforts are relatively unimportant.” 2 likes
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