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World Revolution, 1917-1936 The Rise and Fall of the Communist International by C. L. R. James

World Revolution, 1917-1936 The Rise and Fall of the Communist International

Part of the The C. L. R. James Archives Series


World Revolution, 1917-1936 The Rise and Fall of the Communist International by C. L. R. James

Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James's World Revolution is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the history of revolutions during the interwar period and of the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin. James, who was a leading Trotskyist activist in Britain, outlines Russia's transition from Communist revolution to a Stalinist totalitarian state bureaucracy. He also provides an account of the ideological contestations within the Communist International while examining its influence on the development of the Soviet Union and its changing role in revolutions in Spain, China, Germany, and Central Europe. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this definitive edition of World Revolution features a new introduction by Christian Hogsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James's 1939 interview with Trotsky.


This incisive and wide-ranging work by the Trinidadian Marxist, C. L. R. James, was one of the first analyses of the rise of Stalin's tyranny and the subordination of the needs of the international Communist movement to the needs of the Soviet state. Christian Hogsbjerg provides a marvelous introduction to James's life and to the political context in which he wrote this remarkable work. -- S. A. Smith, author of Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History Published in 1937, close to the 'Midnight in the Century
when Hitler and Stalin dominated global politics, C. L. R. James

's World Revolution affirms the actuality of Marxism even as it confronts the degeneration of the Russian Revolution of October 1917. In telling the story of the advance and retreat of the great revolutionary wave at the end of the First World War, James displays his qualities as a theorist, historian, and writer. This new edition includes an invaluable introduction by Christian Hogsbjerg that sets World Revolution in its place in the politics of the British left in the 1930s and in James's own rich intellectual development. -- Alex Callinicos, author of The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx'

About the Author

C. L. R. James (1901-1989), a Trinidadian historian, political activist, and writer, is the author of The Black Jacobins, an influential study of the Haitian Revolution. He is also the author of The Life of Captain Cipriani, Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, and Beyond a Boundary, all also published by Duke University Press. Christian Hogsbjerg is a historian and works for Leeds University Centre for African Studies. He is the author of C. L. R. James in Imperial Britain and the coeditor of The Black Jacobins Reader, both also published by Duke University Press.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th August 2017


C. L. R. James

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Duke University Press


544 pages


Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions
Marxism & Communism
General & world history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



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