ere you will find foundational books on Marxism and its history, as well as critical analyses of the ideology and accounts of the horrors it is responsible for.

The Communist Manifesto
Published 1848
By Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

The Communist Manifesto represents the essential thinking of Communism’s ‘founding fathers’. It sees a world divided between two classes: the proletariat, or workers, who are exploited by the bourgeoisie, or capitalists. Class differences and the injustices related to them, can only be eliminated through violent revolution: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.” It ends with a call to revolution: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!”

Das Kapital (Capital)
Published 1885
By Karl Marx

The first volume was originally published in German in 1867, the second volume posthumously in 1885, by Frederick Engels. A third volume was published by Engels in 1894, but not considered a significant addition to the first two. Although this work represents the most comprehensive exposition of Marxist theory, a Marxist Bible so to speak, it is in many places confusingly dense and limited in modern relevance by its focus on 19th Century capitalist economies, which have long since gone through dramatic structural transformations. In the light of modern science and economics, Marx’s theories of dialectical and historical materialism, economic determinism, and labor theory of value are seriously flawed. Nevertheless, Marxism has provided the ideological underpinnings for violent revolution into the 21st Century, and its understanding of inherent conflictual relations within human societies continues to be the basis for so-called Cultural Marxism, which espouses revolution and conflict across all aspects of human life.

The creation of a party was a critical step that Lenin took in translating the theory Marxism into a revolutionary force. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was in fact the policy- and decision-making body that directed the work of the Soviet government. A similar relationship was developed in most other countries that were labelled Communist. In non-Communist countries, the Communist Party would often play various functions. It would act as an opposition party, but in many cases (including the United States) it would also serve as a tool of Soviet policy and power projection, providing everything from propaganda to spies for the Soviet Union.

This book looks at the life of Marx and how it impacted his thinking and writing. Written from a Christian (Catholic in particular) perspective, it traces his rejection of religion and creation of an atheistic ideology that has served as a Satanic force, corrupting people and undermining the traditional institutions on which Western civilization was built. It sees Marx himself as an irresponsible son, husband and father, embittered by his life experience, blaming property owners and capitalists for the injustices he experienced, while all the while depending on his parents, friends and his patron Engels for financial support. Despite Marx’s claim to champion justice, the regimes built by Communists were all dictatorial, oppressive and cruel, multiplying injustices rather than eliminating them. And people of faith and their institutions were particularly targeted for persecution by Marxist regimes. Kengor follows the trail of Marxism from its original economic and political agenda to a much broader social context as people like Wilhelm Reich, in his 1936 book The Sexual Revolution, sought to apply the theory to human psychology and behavioral dysfunction.

Tortured for Christ
Published 1967
By Richard Wurmbrand

The harrowing story of a man tortured for his Christian faith, spending 14 years in Communist Romanian prisons. His book shows the reality of Marxism in practice, including its relentless opposition to religion and justification of all manner of abuses in the name of creating a Communist state. The book has sold 10 million copies and has been translated into 60 languages.

The Orphan Master's Son
Published 2012
By Adam Johnson

This Pulitzer-prize winning novel is a chilling insight into the Marxist regime in North Korea. Although a novel, it is grounded in extensive research, including accounts of those who escaped the terrifying cruelty of the dictatorship created by the Kim dynasty. No one could write a non-fiction equivalent because the control exercised over every person and institution by the regime in Pyongyang makes normal research of the facts of this prison-like nation impossible. As with all Marxist ideologies, the ruling Juche doctrine sounds pretty good on paper. The reality is a perpetual nightmare.

The Road to Serfdom
Published 1944
By Friedrich A. Hayek

A seminal study of the rise of socialism in Europe, explaining how Germany was ahead of other countries and why Nazism (National Socialism) was able to take root there. Hayek looks at the root problems of Socialism as an economic and political system that depends on central planning to deliver equitable societies, a promise it never fulfills. Prefaced by Milton Friedman, Hayek’s book is considered one of the best 20th Century indictments of Socialism.

An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Published in German: 1922
By Ludwig von Mises

A seminal critique of Socialism and the solution to economic and social inequality that it promises to provide.

Marxism Unmasked:
From Delusion to Destruction
Published 2006
By Ludwig von Mises

Based on a series of nine lectures given in San Francisco in 1952, this book contains the thinking of one of the foremost critics of Marxism. He analyses the flaws in the theories themselves, and explains how harmful Marxism has been in practice.

Capitalism and Freedom
Published 1962
By Milton Friedman

A classical work by a leading economist, Friedman’s book explains why capitalism is actually a virtuous system that can benefit all. This is contrary to a main thesis of Marxism, which holds that private property and capitalism are the root of inequality in society and the basis of oppression by one class over another.

Eat the Rich:
A Treatise on Economics

Published 1998
By P.J. O’Rourke

Written in O’Rourke’s typically humorous style, this is a serious book. Dissatisfied with works on economics he had read, he set out to find out which economic theories work and which are a waste of paper. He studied places as diverse as Tanzania, Sweden and Hong Kong, to find out which applied theories actually produce the most benefits for the people. This is a great primer on economics for a sensible person. It demonstrates the foolishness of believing in the promises of Socialism, and shows that free people, free markets and the rule of law are the most important ingredients for a successful economy.

Hannan traces the development of freedom in England through the spread of common law to Magna Carta, the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution with its Bill of Rights. Traveling across the Atlantic with religious pilgrims and independence-minded settlers, these ideas took root in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. They also took root through anti-colonial revolutions in other corners of the British Empire, including India, Australia and New Zealand, creating a common cultural and political heritage in the English-speaking world. This international network proved critical in defeating the Central Powers in World War I and the Axis Powers in WWII. It also proved critical in opposing and ultimately prevailing over the Soviet Union and other Marxist regimes in the Cold War.