Reading list for the communist history

Now that it’s kind of over. But history is never over, is it?


Okay, so there is the Communist Manifesto, and it’s really short.


But the Communist manifesto was not an original idea. Marx wrote down one version of what a lot of people were thinking. And even when he wrote it down, there were a lot of competing ideas.

The way those competing ideas became real to me was when I read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. That story is very hard to follow, but the whole communist etc. revolution is hard to follow. Orwell goes to the Spanish Civil war, and he gets to be our avatar, interested passionate and confused.

We can read it and start to see…oh…this was NOT a monolithic consensus. AND he also talks about how Moscow had appointed itself the mothership, and that has implications for later.

So, then I think a look back, a look at how things worked themselves out to the monolith of COMMUNISM that Moscow became, is in order.

Doctor Zhivago

That is an amazing love story, but look past that. Look at the power struggles, and the people in the ideas and allegiances. Lenin, Bolsheviks, anarchists, and and and and and…

there were so many ways that it could have gone. But it went one way. It went the way of tragedy and persecution and death.

not to mention the many lives and loves that were affected. Which is why Doctor Zhivago (Zhivago means “Living being” loosely) is a masterpiece of a holistic story.

But more. There is more. The powers came into being.

Milan Kundera wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being he talked about what it was like to be under the communist thumb. ┬áSo many of the types of people who are attracted to communism–thinkers and arty types–are the very ones who suffer from the totalitarians of Communism for the very things that initially attracted them to the ideology. A lethal homeopathy…

And then. Because communism didn’t only happen in Europe.

Grass Soup

But don’t read that last one until you are well grounded in your mental health.