This book is the crowning achievement of Archie Brown’s career. It is a history of communism from the middle of the nineteenth century until the present day. I have to admire this gigantic achievement, based on innumerable Russian and other sources and with a generous list of acknowledgements to other experts on the subject. Although the author does not reveal any truly important facts – about Russia, the rest of Europe, East Asia and Cuba – that were previously unknown to any well-educated reader, he systematises and conceptualises the subject brilliantly, saturating it in a wealth of lesser known details. For decades this volume will remain a definitive study of communism.