The Reality of Communism

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The Reality of Communism

By Alexander Zinoviev
Schocken, 1984
320 pp. $22.95
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Alexander Zinoviev, who held academic posts in the U.S.S.R. until his expulsion in 1978, undertakes to set the world straight on communism, not as theory but as it exists in fact in the Soviet Union, a subject on which he finds much ignorance in the West. Much of what he says belabors the obvious, but there are interesting parts too, especially on how things work at the level of the "primary collective," the key to the system's extraordinary stability. Although this is a highly personal analysis-the author disdains traditional sociological research, cites only his own works, and writes with total assurance-it represents keen observation and some impressive argument.