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Summary

Socialism is strangely impervious to refutation by real-world experience. Over the past hundred years, there have been more than two dozen attempts to build a socialist society, from the Soviet Union to Maoist China to Venezuela. All of them have ended in varying degrees of failure. But, according to socialism’s adherents, that is only because none of these experiments were “real socialism”. 

This audiobook documents the history of this, by now, standard response. It shows how the claim of fake socialism is only ever made after the event. As long as a socialist project is in its prime, almost nobody claims that it is not real socialism. 

On the contrary, virtually every socialist project in history has gone through a honeymoon period, during which it was enthusiastically praised by prominent Western intellectuals. It was only when their failures became too obvious to deny that they got retroactively reclassified as “not real socialism”.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Institute of Economic Affairs (P)2019 SpokenTome.Media

What listeners say about Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great narrator but audio presentation needed more thought.

The narrator is great, but this book is very quote heavy. More or less the first 2/3 of the book deals with how various media outlets portray socialist states & much of this is directly quoted text. As a listener, this makes it very, very difficult to keep track of what is a quote & what is the author’s own own writing. This should have used a bare minimum of two different narrators, but probably three, so that direct quotes could have their own narrator voice. The narrator was also told to read aloud the various reference markers that are useless to a listener as there are no references to reference.

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Excellent book - poor narration

Kristian goes through his thesis very well showing that all socialist regimes were considered socialist at some point (most recently Venezuela but traditionally USSR, China, Cuba etc) and that every regime goes through three stages from extreme adulation by the chattering classes to the veneer coming off / doubts about the system, and finally to "that wasn't real socialism".

He also brought up many examples of Saint Jeremy and his comrades praising many of these regimes and making disparaging comments about victims of the regime (for example, Corbyn refers to Cuban emigres in the US escaping Communism as "the gangsters of Miami") which is important to help us remember how close we were to having that dangerous man in power and how we should do all we can to prevent that in the future.

The only issue I have with the audiobook is the narration - the narrator's style just doesn't fit the book.

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several cautionary tales for the comrades.

A no holds barred trip around all our favourite totalitarian states, and yes it still doesn't work.

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Provocative and game changing

This was such an eye opener for someone like me armed with preconceptions and biases towards socialism yet over recent years wondering why high profile contemporary supporters of socialist regimes nearly always appeared to deny post hoc that those same regimes were not in fact socialist. Challenge those biases and listen to this superbly written and most importantly exhaustively researched book.

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Not bad

Nice to hear a libertarian point of view of things, and it's much needed in a world where socialism constantly gets a free pass.

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Fascinating

What an excellent and comprehensive account of the failures of socialism presented in unsparing detail. Should be widely read and taught in history lessons in schools. Particularly interesting are the eulogies provided by naive, but clever people when visiting the hell hole countries afflicted by socialism.
Highly recommended.

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Amazing book perfect for our time

What an insightful and interesting narrative. While slightly repetitive, it is entertaining and hugely topical. Needs to be more celebrated and well known.

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Great book

Great book but the reader has a very annoying "ibit" tick that distracts from the story in a shallow way. Information wise, excellent read

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Great book, very illuminating.

The book is crucial in order to understand how the claims "socialism is a good idea but has been implemented badly" and "real socialism has never been tried", are false, untrue and absurd.
My only criticism is that I wish the reader was British, as the author is based in Britain and many of the references were UK centred.

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Good book, bad narration.

The book gives a fair and thorough overview of the history of socialist regimes and why socialist ideology fails.
In my opinion it maybe dwels a bit too much on the western academic defenders of socialist regimes, but I that is perhaps to be expected given the thesis the book seeks to prove. It is fair, gives good arguments, is not overly academic while not talking down to the listener, and does not try to be sensational in its narrative.
A criticism I have to give is the narration though. The thick American accent does not fit a book whiten by a Brit, and he absolutely butchers every single foreign word or name in the book. It frankly becomes a bit distracting, and it is obvious that he has not even bothered to look up the pronunciation of the words he struggles to pronounce. Please find someone who at least can pronounce "Jacobin" correctly next time.
I can recommend the book despite that, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in ideology.

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  • Douglas
  • 19-08-19

Vital and important message to the far left today

Great and vital info. Narration is okay. Great insight. A bit boring sometimes.
This explains the denial and side-stepping of socilaists today even after a century of death, destruction, poverty, starvation and oppression. When you lie about the past and you advocate for the same ideas which are directly responsible for hundreds of millions murdered and starved to death, then you are asking for a repeat and such ideas in universities and government must be thwarted.
If you honestly try to make a tee shirt, but fail, then you tried real tee shirt making. Especially, when people laud your tee shirt making efforts in the process. Then after the failure, they apologize and say real tee shirt making was never tried, look at all of these obvious faults and the ideals which weren’t upheld. This has nothing to do with tee shirt making. Insert socialism for tee shirt in the above statements and you have the socialist proponent arguments of today. Except the tee shirt maker’s attempts don’t result in the death of hundreds of millions.
Did the 20th century’s world wars or socialism cause more death in that 100 year span? The answer is you don’t know. They both ended the lives of hundreds of millions except one was inflicting the death tolls onto its own people.
May god save us from repeating the evil of socialism.

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  • Bruni
  • 22-03-21

History of socialists disavowing failed socialism

This book is a comprehensive history of socialists disavowing failed socialism experiments after the ensuing atrocities resulting from socialism. It is comical because Newton documents the initial positive statements (and later disavowal) made by western intellectuals about socialist experiments beginning with the USSR and moving chronologically forward to the present. You cannot help but laugh at these socialist "intellectuals". Newton documents their love affair with socialist governments in their own words. Then when the experiment fails, the socialists claim it was not real socialism (the disavowal).