Kirkus Star


Email this review


This is a book that every thoughtful citizen should read, but it is a book that will need intelligent backing and presentation. It will make some people fighting mad; it will frighten some people; it will cause controversy; but, in final analysis, it is the challenge we have been looking for, the first successful presentation of the interlocking causes of war, of revolution, of counter-revolution as related to yesterday, today and tomorrow. Victory we can and must have, but ""victory is an opportunity, not a fulfillment"". Mr. Laski shows incontrovertibly that the very factors that have made for fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany, Vichy France, are present in greater or lesser degree in the United Nations. He urges realization of the fact that we accept the inevitability of a planned post-war economy, and that we accept it now. If postponed until after victory, it will mean counter-revolution, bolstering of the privileged classes, and ultimately another war. ""So many have given so much that freedom may have a new birth"" that those many will not accept again a denial of equal needs. For this we must build or abandon the democratic expression. ""The gale of fundamental change is in the air and the rule of the middle class rests upon a fragile equipoise"". Two choices are open -- cooperation or revolution, and the choice must be made now. He gives the most perceptive analysis that I have read of the progress of revolution in Russia, the whys of violence, the hows of progress, the distinctions between the Russian and Fascist ideologies, the fallacy of considering them similar. Russia must be faced as an accomplished fact; but we can still avoid the price that Russia paid. Democracy is at bay. Democracy is suspect. The democracy of the future involves not political democracy, as in the past, but social and economic democracy. Privilege must surrender its prerogatives, because the economy of expansion is no longer open to capitalism, but must expand into the social field. This book, while not a blueprint for a post-war world, presents certain fundamentals, and -- alone among its fellows -- boldly faces the limitations of the Churchill government, the challenge of Britain's failure in Asia, the dangers in the leadership of privilege in the United States. As this is a ""people's war"", so must it be a ""people's peace"". We must plan now to move from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance, we must use the urgency of wartime to build for peacetime. He visualizes a future international organization, a confederation growing out of the United Nations' nucleus, conditioned on common aims of common prosperity and common trust, freedom in a planned democracy. He makes imperative four basic controls, control of capital and credit, of trade, of land, control of transportation, fuel and power. He emphasizes the necessity of having these controls implemented under experts, responsible to the state but not subject to the hazard of party elections....No single paragraph could conceivably summarize or appraise all facets of this remarkable book. Here is a book to own, to study; a book that demands reader attention. But don't overlook its importance, and study the potential market among your liberals and intelligent conservatives.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1943
Publisher: Viking