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God that Failed, The: Six Studies in Communism

crossman book contributors essays

a book containing six autobiographical essays, edited and introduced by Richard Crossman, and published in 1950. The book, which grew out of a discussion between Crossman and Arthur Koestler, made a great impact at the time and was considered one of the most effective intellectual weapons in the Western armoury of the Cold War. The six contributors were Koestler, Ignazio Silone, André Gide, Stephen Spender, Richard Wright, and Louis Fischer. Dr Enid Starkie, who suggested the title of the book, compiled and edited Gide's reminiscences from various sources, because he was too ill to provide an essay. All the contributors had been either communists or ‘fellow-travellers’ sympathetic to communism. Scrupulously honest about past motives, and from a disillusioned perspective, the essays all illuminate ideological commitment by intellectuals and artists in turbulent, crisis-ridden times when recollected in tranquillity. Crossman declared: ‘We were not in the least interested in swelling the flood of anti-Communist propaganda or in providing an opportunity for personal apologetics.’

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