Matthew Williams's Reviews > The God That Failed

The God That Failed by Richard Crossman
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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, though every author's' contribution managed to capture the insanity of the age through the lens of their own experience. Above all else, it's a seminal read on the phenomena that took place during the interwar years and seemed to embrace the life of every intellectual in West. In an age where liberalism and capitalism were on the outs, idealists and reformers needed a new cause to turn to.

Communism seemed the natural choice, especially considering that it was the only ideology that seemed to be taking the rise of fascism seriously. Naturally, those who embraced this new ideology quickly became disillusioned. For some, it happened as a result of visiting the Soviet Union and witnessing the Show Trials, the Purges and the Great Terror firsthand. For others, it came from being subjected to the ideological conformity and brutality that Stalinism inspired among its followers.

In the end, they could only come to the conclusion that human nature is what it is, and any ideology that promises salvation is a lie. They also concluded that the most precious thing we have is the freedom to think for ourselves. The message is timeless, but it's especially meaningful in an age characterized by polarization and entrenched views.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 28, 2011 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Well said, Matthew.


Matthew Williams Graeme wrote: "Well said, Matthew."

Thanks! I still return to it periodically because of the invaluable quotes.


message 3: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Cool.


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