Socialism was man’s most ambitious attempt to supplant religion with a doctrine claiming to ground itself in “science.” Each failure to create societies of abundance or give birth to “the New Man” inspired more searching for the path to the promised land: revolution, communes, social democracy, communism, fascism, Third World socialism. None worked, and some exacted a staggering human toll. Then, after two centuries of wishful thinking and fitful governance, socialism suddenly imploded in a fin du siècle drama of falling walls and collapsing regimes.
Joshua Muravchik traces the fiery trajectory through sketches of the thinkers and leaders who developed the theory, led it to power, and presided over its collapse. Heaven on Earth is a story filled with character and event while at the same time giving us an epic chronicle of a movement that tried to turn the world upside down—and for a time succeeded.