The reader must be warned that it is difficult to do justice in a limited space to this ambitious and thoughtful book that explores the most tragic and momentous historical phenomena of the past century and their attempted legitimation. Aptly summed up by its author, the book “is a comprehensive, comparative essay on the intellectual origins, the crimes, and the failure of the radical totalitarian movements that ravaged the last century.” It also examines the decay and collapse of communist systems and the conditions which emerged in post-communist Eastern Europe.

It takes determination and formidable erudition to wade into the controversies which for several decades have enveloped and often obscured the concept of totalitarianism. The author is highly qualified to undertake this task. He grew up in communist Romania and thus experienced life in a totalitarian society; subsequently he devoted much...

 
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