Fall of the New Class: A History of Communism's Self-Destruction

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9780679433255: Fall of the New Class: A History of Communism's Self-Destruction

He was a true believer in communism who became disillusioned with the totalitarianism and corruption of the Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. A wartime partisan leader in Yugoslavia and later the number three man in the politburo, he broke with Marshal Tito in 1954 and spent most of the next decade in prison, where he began to write about the inner workings of the Communist system. Here, Milovan Djilas--who died in 1995-- discusses why communism failed in Europe, what its failure means for the future of the continent, and how he transformed himself from ideologue into humanist.
        Djilas's publication, in 1957, of The New Class, which was translated into sixty languages, caused a worldwide sensation with its description of the bureaucratization of the movement, of the special privileges accorded its leaders and cadres, and of its reliance on secret police and repression. His new book reemphasizes and enlarges on those themes, giving the reader intimate portraits of Tito and his colleagues, describing the wartime struggle against the Nazis and rival Yugoslav factions, and showing why Mikhail Gorbachev failed in his efforts to reform the Soviet system.
        Controversial and courageous to the end, Milovan Djilas sharply criticized Serbia's war on Croatia, and once again is the target of vilification in his native land. Fall of the New Class is the final testament of one of the most remarkable thinkers of the century.

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Review:

"This is a book about the loss of illusions."

Milovan Djilas (1911-1995) was one of the most profoundly outspoken apostates of Communism. A loyal Stalinite and high-ranking official in the Yugoslav Party until the early 1950s, when he was ostracized for "revisionism" and eventually imprisoned for denouncing the Red Army's invasion of Hungary, he wrote one of the first internal critiques of the communist movement to be widely published, The New Class, describing how ideology was brutally imposed through bureaucratization and repression.

In this collection of thematically linked essays, Djilas returns to that theme, examining how the movement collapsed upon itself and reflecting on how he himself had come to reject its goals. "There is in each of us a Communist spirit," he writes, "hunger for fair dealing and social equality." But the world, he concluded, is simply not fair, and perfection, although it must be strived for, cannot be imposed upon humanity. Djilas had reservations about Westerners who criticized communism for its economic shortcomings; as a true insider, Djilas came to his understanding of its inherent flaws the hard way.

From the Back Cover:

Milovan Djilas's Conversations with Stalin, The New Class, Rise and Fall, and Wartime are available in Harvest paperbacks, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

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