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The End of Commitment: Intellectuals, Revolutionaries, and Political Morality

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The seduction of some of the twentieth century's great thinkers by Communist ideology and ideals is one of the most intriguing stories in the history of that ill-fated century. How was it that these distinguished intellectuals, public figures, and revolutionaries could enlist in the service of ideas which, when put in practice, proved repressive? Much has been written ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published July 13th 2006 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher
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Howard Olsen
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Hollander is a sociologist whose life's work has been the study of The Left, specifically the idealistic, collectivist Left of the 20th century. This book examines the process by which some leftists came to lose their ideals and turn back towards capitalism and liberal democracy. This turning away meant more than just a change in political identity; it usually meant the loss of friends and community. For persons behind the Iron Curtain, dissent quickly led to imprisonment, exile, and death. The ...more
David Alexander
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The emigres from Communist countries we didn't listen to, who found it easier to get published in Reader's Digest than in The Nation, or the New Statesman, were telling the truth… Why didn't we hear them before, when they were telling us exactly what they tell us now? … We didn't love the truth enough… We tried to distinguish among Communisms - for example treating Stalinism, which we disavowed, as if it were an aberration and praising other regimes outside Europe, which had and have ...more
João Cerqueira
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why have some supporters of communist regimes stopped believing in their own country’s system? Why have intellectuals and others living in democratic societies supported communist dictatorships in the name of freedom and progress? And why have some of these supporters abandoned their beliefs, while others have resisted all evidence of the failure of communism? These are same of the questions that Paul Hollander addresses in this book.

If it’s not difficult to understand that those who lived in
...more
Michael Connolly
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book is a study of people who at one time believed in Communism, but who later changed their minds.
It includes both defectors from Communist countries and Western intellectuals. Some of the people discussed include:
* Alexander Orlov of the NKVD who secretly transporting the entire gold reserve of Spanish Republic to the USSR
* Lev Kopelev, who criticized the treatment of German civilians in the wake of the Russian victory in World War II
* Victor Kravchenko, who defected from the Soviet
...more
T Fool
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
This is one of three or four books recommended to sober readers about Communism. It does that, in spades. The assemblage of profiles is impressive, covering the globe. To get first-hand witness of living in very constrained societies would cause a reader in the West to revalue local complaints, however drastic they are.

Better is the quality of witness. Most of these people were high-up, enthusiastic members, people with positions of power. Some became disillusioned because practice didn't come
...more
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Howard Olsen
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Hollander is a sociologist whose life's work has been the study of The Left, specifically the idealistic, collectivist Left of the 20th century. This book examines the process by which some leftists came to lose their ideals and turn back towards capitalism and liberal democracy. This turning away meant more than just a change in political identity; it usually meant the loss of friends and community. For persons behind the Iron Curtain, dissent quickly led to imprisonment, exile, and death. The ...more
João Cerqueira
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why have some supporters of communist regimes stopped believing in their own country’s system? Why have intellectuals and others living in democratic societies supported communist dictatorships in the name of freedom and progress? And why have some of these supporters abandoned their beliefs, while others have resisted all evidence of the failure of communism? These are same of the questions that Paul Hollander addresses in this book.

If it’s not difficult to understand that those who lived in
...more
Michael Connolly
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book is a study of people who at one time believed in Communism, but who later changed their minds.
It includes both defectors from Communist countries and Western intellectuals. Some of the people discussed include:
* Alexander Orlov of the NKVD who secretly transporting the entire gold reserve of Spanish Republic to the USSR
* Lev Kopelev, who criticized the treatment of German civilians in the wake of the Russian victory in World War II
* Victor Kravchenko, who defected from the Soviet
...more
David Alexander
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The emigres from Communist countries we didn't listen to, who found it easier to get published in Reader's Digest than in The Nation, or the New Statesman, were telling the truth… Why didn't we hear them before, when they were telling us exactly what they tell us now? … We didn't love the truth enough… We tried to distinguish among Communisms - for example treating Stalinism, which we disavowed, as if it were an aberration and praising other regimes outside Europe, which had and have ...more
T Fool
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
This is one of three or four books recommended to sober readers about Communism. It does that, in spades. The assemblage of profiles is impressive, covering the globe. To get first-hand witness of living in very constrained societies would cause a reader in the West to revalue local complaints, however drastic they are.

Better is the quality of witness. Most of these people were high-up, enthusiastic members, people with positions of power. Some became disillusioned because practice didn't come
...more
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American political sociologist, communist-studies scholar, and non-fiction author. He is known for his criticisms of communism and left-wing politics in general. Born in 1932 in Hungary, he fled to the West after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was bloodily put down by Soviet forces.
Hollander earned a Ph.D in Sociology from Princeton University, 1963 and a B.A. from the London School of
...more