Is there a difference between the Communist Party as an idea and the Communist Party in practice? A. James McAdams thinks so and takes...

Is there a difference between the Communist Party as an idea and the Communist Party in practice? A. James McAdams thinks so and takes the global approach to history to write a political and intellectual history of the Communist party. In Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton University Press, 2017), he urges us to think of the party in practice and not simply think of communism as an idea detached from the workings of a political party. He starts with the writing of The Communist Manifesto and tracks the major communist parties that changed the course of the 20th century. We talk global history, Marx, the idea of world revolution, and the longevity of ideas.

James McAdams is the William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.  He has written widely on European, especially central European, affairs.  His books include East Germany and DetenteGermany DividedJudging the Past in Unified Germany, and The Crisis of Modern Times.


Nadirah Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.

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