Child of the Revolution by Wolfgang Leonhard, came to my life unexpectedly and became one of my favorite books ever. Probably the best memoir about life under communist regime.
Since early childhood, Wolfgang Leonhard was exposed to Marxist ideology. His mother was a member of communist party, and introduced her son to the system. When they escaped to Soviet Russia, she became victim of Stalin’s purge and was sentenced to 12 years forced labor.
After his mother had been sent to the gulag, Leonhard joined one of the Soviet schools. He caught attention of The Party and was selected for the fast- track training. Consequently, he became a member of the Soviet intelligentsia. He then came back to East- Germany with the ”Ulbricht group” to pave the way for communist state. When he finally realized that he did not want to play his part in bringing Eastern Europe under Stalinist control, he escaped to Yugoslavia and then to West Germany. He became an academic and worked at Yale University.
Although the system took his mother from him, he still was blindly believing in the rightness of the system. On one hand, he was suffering, on the other he believed that was the way it should be because the communist system could not be wrong. Individual lives could not compromise the communists’ vision for the world order.
Leonhard offers deeply- informed account of every facet of life under communist regime. The book is a vivid picture of evolution of Marxist ideology, rules of Soviet communism, indoctrination and political blindness. Despite manipulation, brainwashing and omnipresent fear, Leonhard was able to break up with Stalinism and to choose his own vision of socialism.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in history and communism. This highly informative book not only gives insight into life under communist regime but also shows the mechanism of political indoctrination in general. I wish The Child of Revolution received more coverage because it truly deserves it.