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Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British left by [Anderson, Paul, Davey, Kevin]
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Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British left Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 168 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1000 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Aaaargh! Press (22 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EX9FBGC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,892 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is a good introductory overview of the history of the Communist Party of Great Britain based on extensive reading of the secondary literature - I would happily recommend it as a student text.
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This book analyses the relationship between the USSR and various parts of the British left. The book shows how enthusiasm for the USSR was high during the 20s and 30s, with prominent leftist from Britain's Labour Party and trade unions given VIP tours of the glorious new workers' paradise. These tours of course only showed the side the Soviets wanted them to see; smiling, well fed 'workers' in Potemkin villages, whilst millions slaved and starved in the gulags. These delegations often returned with glowing reports of the USSR.

The Nazi-Soviet Pact temporarily dampened this enthusiasm, but with the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941, and Stalin joining the Allies, this enthusiasm soon returned, with gusto. This enthusiasm was at its peak in the 1945 election, with a landslide Labour victory on a manifesto of hard-line socialist transformation. The Communist Party itself even had MPs elected, largely due to the lionised image of communism the Soviet defeat of the Nazis had given it. This was however to soon change.

As the years went on, this began to change. The Soviet rigging of Eastern European post-war elections, its ruthless crushing of the Hungarian uprising and later the Prague Spring deflated the general public's image of the USSR, the left in general and communism in particular. For the Labour Party, the rest of the Cold War would be marked by Labour MPs who rejected the Soviets (such as Michael Foot), to some who had a worrying tendency to side-step its brutality with a fawning remark about is welfare system. The book also details the unrepentant 'fellow travellers', hardliners whose uncritical, canine-like obedience to the Moscow line came to dominate the most notorious elements of the British left.

In short, this book is a good overview for anyone interested in the British left.
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Pretty good, but depends heavily on Francis Beckett's book on the C.P. Irritating lack of footnotes, so it is hard to tell where some of the data come from and the how reliable the book is overall. Does not take as much account as might be expected of some of the recent arguments in the academic literature, for example about the impact of the Lenin School. Understates the influence of the CP via the unions between c. 1973 and 1983, though it does at least discuss the issue (which lots of books on the left more or less ignore). Overall, a useful introduction to the topic but not good as (for example) a text for contemporary history students because it is hard to tell how reliable it is.
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An incisive, brief account of the flirtation of parts of the British left with Stalinism. It asks important questions and highlights debates which the left need to be having and are adept at avoiding.
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In the end it seems that the mainstream left leaning politicians were far too sensible to be caught out by Stalin's cheerleaders.
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