This engrossing history of various socialist movements is told through portraits of the leaders who provided the intellectual and political support for those movements. With eloquence, skepticism, and even sympathy, Muravchik examines the careers of figures as varied as Friedrich Engels, Clement Atlee, and Julius Nyerere ... This is an important work and an object lesson showing great harm is frequently done by those with the purest motives.
When Mr. Muravchik’s book first appeared in 2002, it felt like an obituary. Now it has a new urgency ... Among the important themes featured in Heaven on Earth are the inherent contradictions between patriotism and the internationalist doctrines of socialism; the risible way in which socialist ideologues speak about future states of harmony that, conveniently, can’t be verified or assessed; and the enduring link between socialism and atheism. This latter point emerges with surprising force in Heaven on Earth.
An engaging narrative of the twists and turns in socialism's history with a focus on the individuals who invented, popularized, redefined, and exploited socialism across the eras ... In the end, the book's focus on colorful individuals provides interesting reading, but it fails to deliver a satisfactory account of how ideas, individuals, industrial capitalism, and world historical forces combined to produce socialism's great drama. Nor is there any effort to explore its lasting legacies or offer lessons for modern-day ideological movements.