This is not a history book. It is, rather, a political action, undertaken by a Socialist who believes in Socialism"" -- del...

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THE MARCH OF SOCIALISM

This is not a history book. It is, rather, a political action, undertaken by a Socialist who believes in Socialism"" -- del Vayo's (he was Republican Spain's Foreign Minister in 1936-39) introduction to this hopscotch guide to social revolution from Spartacus to Allende, and something of a supplement-to his memoirs (Give Me Combat, KR, p. 664). Although his litmus test for radicalism allows for various shades of pink (""every genuine movement of revolt, every revolution with even the faintest and feeblest social content""), he is, in fact, quite capriciously selective; he includes the Decembrist Uprising and Bolshevik Revolution but not the Russian Revolution of 1905; the French Revolutions of 1793, 1848 and 1870 but not 1830; the Chinese but not the Algerian or Yugoslav experiences -- in fact very little of what went on in Eastern Europe. A chapter on the Paris Commune dwells on the reprisals which followed the fall rather than on the reforms attempted a discussion of 1848 ignores the upsurge of nationalist feeling within the Austro-Hungarian Empire; del Vayo's treatment of his own Republic is unfortunately more of a defensive justification of the Spanish masses' revolutionary credentials than an elaboration on his own tantalizing statement that ""the Republic did not have the courage to make structural changes in Spanish society."" His description of Mao's China is but another I-have-seen-the-future-and-it-works. Del Vayo has his heroes (Robespierre, Jaures, Rosa Luxemburg, Mae, Chou -- and, at this late date, Stalin) and his dogma (he believes in the revolutionary masses, a people's militia, armed uprisings, socialist internationalism and solidarity); because of both he is blind to facts he simply doesn't want to see. Readers in search of socialism's beat will find him an indifferent drummer.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973