If no such text exists which attempts to cover the time just before the Communist Manifesto, until some time during or after the middle (1950s-70s) 20th century, then I will settle for texts which cover specific times such as the first 50 years of socialism, or the time of the Cold War.

  • 2
    When you say socialism do you mean USSR style socialism (Leninism, Stalinism)?, or are you trying to study all of its variants and models? For example Social-Democracy became pretty famous and was directly opposed to single party socialism both before and after (cold war) WW2. My recommendation is that you start with the First International where Marx ideas were strongly opposed by Bakunine.
    – armatita
    Feb 27, 2018 at 11:11
  • There must be tons of books about that. If there are not enough answers here, you might want to try history.stackexchange. Mar 1, 2018 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Ludwig von Mises wrote a classic evaluation of Socialism in 1922. The title is Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis. It covers the ideas behind socialism and there is a fair amount of history contained in his work. It is a scholarly work that require real effort to get through but the reader will learn a great deal by the effort.

There is an online version of the book: http://files.libertyfund.org/files/1060/Mises_0069_EBk_v6.0.pdf

Von Mises distinguishes between the "Utopian" socialists of the nineteeth century and social democrats that would come later. His came right after the Russian revolution at a time when the Russian civil war was underway and the outcome was still in doubt. As a result he does not delve into Lenin, Trotsky, or Stalin. The Bolsheviks were almost universally opposed to all previous versions of socialism.

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