The God That Failed

Edited by Richard Crossman. with a New Foreword by David Engerman

Columbia University Press

The God That Failed

Google Preview

Pub Date: October 2001

ISBN: 9780231123952

272 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£26.95

The God That Failed

Edited by Richard Crossman. with a New Foreword by David Engerman

Columbia University Press

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. André 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.
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Worth reading, and rereading, for its interest both as a classic historical document and as a haunting object lesson.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
Foreword, by David Engerman
Further Reading in English
Explanation of some Terms and Names
Introduction, Richard Crossman, M.P.
Part I: The Initiates
Arthur Koestler
Ignazio Silone
Richard Wright
Part II: Worshipers from Afar
André Gide, foreword by Dr. Enid Starkie
Louis Fischer
Stephen Spender

About the Author

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.