To Overthrow the World

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Communism

September 2024 9781911723530 528pp
Forthcoming Pre-order
Available as an eBook
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It is now three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which prompted Francis Fukuyama to proclaim the ‘End of History’ and confident post-mortems of Communism to fill the airwaves. At the height of American triumphalism in 2001, Richard Pipes opened his short history of Communism by calling the book not only ‘an introduction’ but, ‘at the same time, [an] obituary.’

Twenty years later, things look different. Russia may no longer be Communist, but Stalin is more admired there than at any time since his death in 1953. Thrown off its perch by the 9/11 attacks, ineffectual military interventions, de-industrialisation and spiralling debts, the United States has bled power and prestige in uncanny parallel with Communist China’s rise in economic power and global influence–not least in the US itself, whose institutions have become beholden to the Chinese market and Chinese interests.

With the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020-1, the Chinese model has spread globally, with once-inviolable freedoms–of movement, travel and association, of speech and robust debate over controversial public policies–all but abandoned. Liberal democratic capitalism seems moribund, while Chinese Communism assimilates the world. How did this happen, and why did no one see it coming?


Sean McMeekin PhD was educated at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Having visited American and European battlefields, libraries and archives, venturing as far east as Russia and Turkey, he now teaches at Bard College. His eight award-winning books include Stalin's War: A New History of World War.

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