Anti-Socialist Tendencies

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I still have no intentions of reviving this blog anytime soon, but I was cleaning up my hard drive and found this shaving on the digital shopfloor that I decided I wanted to preserve by posting. It is a list of books on socialism and fascism that I read (in the order presented) over the course of about six months and that proved extremely profitable intellectually. I had originally meant to have extended commentary on each entry, but that will have to wait for some other time.

For now, you will just have to take my word for it: Reading these books in this order will be immensely beneficial for you if you have any interest at all in these topics.

  • Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles -- Providing the general framework for all the reading that followed was this book.

  • Joshua Muravchik, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism

  • Richard Pipes, Communism: The Vanished Specter

  • Richard Pipes, Communism: A History

  • Nicholas Berdyaev, Dostoevsky -- This is a bit of a departure from the other books, and I did not originally envision it as part of my reading on socialism, but there is much in it that provides broader insight into the socialist worldview. Berdyaev examines the philosophy of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky as revealed in his major works.

  • A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century -- The only drawback to the book is its repetitive tendency -- better editing was definitely needed.

  • Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom -- I had read this before, but decided it would be interesting to re-read it in light of everything gained from the preceding books on the list.

  • John Jewkes, Ordeal by Planning -- An excellent (though difficult to find) companion to Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. Mentioned by Hayek in a new introduction to a later edition of that book, Jewkes' work is an examination of the effects of planning on the British economy a few years after the Second World War. Jewkes finds that planning has had the very effects that Hayek warned about. Whereas Hayek tends to discuss things at a fairly abstract level, Jewkes deals with economic specifics, which makes the book very useful for seeing how exactly Hayek's principles play out in an actual economy.

  • George Watson, The Lost Literature of Socialism

  • Raymond Aron, The Opium of the Intellectuals