The God That Failed by Arthur Koestler

The God That Failed

Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Richard Wright, André Gide, Louis Fischer and Stephen Spender
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“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 United States), Ignazio Silone (Italy), Stephen Spender (England), Arthur Koestler (Germany), and Louis Fischer, an American foreign correspondent, all tell how their search for the betterment of humanity led them to communism, and the personal agony and revulsion which then caused them to reject it. David Engerman's new foreword to this central work of our time recounts the tumultuous events of the era, providing essential background. It also describes the book's origins and impact, the influence of communism in American intellectual life, and how the events described in “The God That Failed” provide important lessons today.

Publisher Description

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. Andre Gide (France), Richard Wright (the United States), Ignazio Silone (Italy), Stephen Spender (England), Arthur Koestler (Germany), and Louis Fischer, an American foreign correspondent, all tell how their search for the betterment of humanity led them to communism, and the personal agony and revulsion which then caused them to reject it. David Engerman's new foreword to this central work of our time recounts the tumultuous events of the era, providing essential background. It also describes the book's origins and impact, the influence of communism in American intellectual life, and how the events described in The God That Failed continue to affect public discourse today.

Review
Canterbury Tales of the 20th century. Time The moving power of their several chronicles derives not merely from the unity of the theme embodied in significant variations but also from the reader's sense that they are recording a tragedy in which all of us have been involved. — Reinhold Niebuhr The Nation The story of the emotions which drew such men to Communism and of the events which disillusioned them states concretely and compellingly the great issues of our time. The Saturday Review of Literature Worth reading, and rereading, for its interest both as a classic historical document and as a haunting object lesson. — Norman Podhoretz Encounter An important contribution to our understanding of Communism in its full dimensions and awful depths. New York Herald Tribune This book is an engrossing study of why men join a Communist party and the reasons why they are eventually compelled to resign... Engerman has done an admirable job of explaining the context of this work. — Donald F. Busky The Historian

Author Biography

Richard Crossman (1907—74) was a leader in the British Labour Party, serving in the Cabinet from 1964 until 1970. David C. Engerman is assistant professor of history at Brandeis University.

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The God That Failed

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