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In 1920, 26 men and women met in a dingy hall in Sydney to create a new political party. They expected the overthrow of capitalism and the emancipation of humanity - here, and all around the world.
Two decades later, when Australia joined the Second World War, the Commonwealth government suppressed the Communist Party of Australia. The handful of idealists and dissidents had become a political force powerful enough, in the view of the authorities, to pose a threat to national security.
The Communist Party was a major part of Australia's political landscape for more than half a century. It came to control many of the country's largest trade unions. Through its supporters, the Party influenced social movements and much of Australia's cultural life. It became the target of sustained surveillance and penetration by state police and federal security agencies. It retains the attention of many despite the revelations of the post-Cold War era.
Full of fascinating characters and incidents, Stuart Macintyre's history is the first comprehensive account of Australian communism.
'This is a masterful book.' - Tom Sheridan, Academy of Social Sciences Newsletter
'This fascinating remembrance of the first two decades of the Communist Party of Australia. [is] both erudite. [and] infused with moral vision. a combination of courage, impeccable judgement and assiduous research.' - Ross Fitzgerald, Australian Book Review