The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century


Product Details

University of California Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.0 X 1.2 inches | 1.25 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Vladimir Tismaneanu is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and author of several books, including Stalinism for All Seasons: A History of Romanian Communism (UC Press), Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism and Myth in Post-Communist Europe, and Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel.


"[A] fine and undoubtedly enduring study. This affinity of Leninism with Nazism is the argument of Tismaneanu's book. It is a claim that since 1945, and particularly the Cold War, has generated much controversy. A distinguished book."--William Pfaff, "New York Review of Books "
"This volume achieves the rare distinction of being at once nuanced and impassioned. It is likely to remain a durable contribution to a deeper understanding of the great historical outrages of the past century which were closely linked to the concept and reality of totalitarianism."--Paul Hollander, "New Criterion "
"An ambitious and challenging rereading of twentieth-century history."--Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
"Mr. Tismaneanu has produced a definitive account of the origins, the appeal, the doctrinal foundations and the political technology of history's two bloodiest political faiths, which, unlike other tyrannies, sought not only to control politics and the economy but to establish permanent state ownership of truth and morality. . . . A powerful indictment of the twin 'utopias in power, ' as well as a paean to those who resisted them, this profound and rich book is also a cautionary tale."--Wall Street Journal
"The parallels between communism and fascism have often been noted, fueling endless debates over whether the movements were fundamentally similar or different. The Devil in History . . . presents a genuinely fresh perspective on this topic."--Foreign Affairs
"Tismaneanu's lucid narrative walks us through an intellectual landscape that traces the trajectory of totalitarian thinking back to its origins. . . . Tismaneanu's book is a chilling analysis of a century where mankind aimed to reach the promised land through the power of ideas. It shows that thinking of politics as a simple scientific formula that could be solved, once it was followed to its logical conclusion, seriously underestimates the complexities of the human condition."--The Daily Beast
"At a time when liberal values are showing their frailty and salvationist mythologies are returning to favour in different places, an absorbing comparative essay is provided on the origins, ravages and ultimate failure of the radical totalitarian movements of the last century: communism and fascism. Vladimir Tismaneanu is an appropriate guide, a polymath steeped in the philosophical, literary and social science texts spawned by defenders, apostates and analysts of this phenomenon."--International Affairs
"Tismaneanu's real concern is to examine what he calls the 'maximalist utopian aspirations' expressed by communist and fascist regimes in Europe to try to understand how it is that systems that set out with a utopian agenda--world revolution or national rebirth--end up constructing murderous dystopias. There is a consensus in the Western world that these were 'delusional visions', as Tismaneanu calls them, but both European communism and fascism have died as mainstream political forces, making it easier to see them as deluded. The core of this perceptive and intelligent analysis is addressed to the more troubling question of how they were possible at all."--Times Higher Education
"A fascinating, brilliant and captivating book. It is a stupendous achievement."--FrontPage Magazine
"The book offers a fascinating read with an incredible wealth of bibliographic sources that will benefit all those interested in the topic. The author has succeeded in giving not only a solid account of the spirituality and history of communist and fascist regimes, but also an outstanding testimony of liberal political and normative thinking."--Cambridge Review of International Affairs
"Vladimir Tismaneanu is the perfect political analyst for today, for he is an expert on both the legacies of Nazism and Communism. In spite of optimistic diagnoses and rampant wishful thinking, these two pathologies are not dead. Vladimir Tismaneanu's illuminating book is an antidote against new experiments in utopian radicalism and social engineering."--WND
"Many books have been written about the similarities and differences between communism and fascism, both in theory and practice. None, however, matches the insight, analysis, and deep thought found in The Devil in History."--Weekly Standard
"The account provided is particularly strong on separating the critical paradigms of Marxism that emerged in East and West. . . . Getting the record straight here is important and challenges any simplistic notion of Eastern Europe's conversion to liberalism."--American Historical Review
"Tismaneanu seeks to fulfill the ancient Jewish commandment of remembering and reminding, zachor, lest we forget and it may return. . . . [the book] argues convincingly that a reckoning with the past can be both exorcism and therapy, and insists that there should be no silence or thick line separating the present from the embarrassing past."--Perspectives on Politics
"A fine book"--The National Review