This is an examination of the foundation texts of socialism. It cites decades of "sloppy scholarship and deliberate censorship" and links socialism to conservative, racist and genocidal ideas. Drawing on sources from Robert Owen to Ken Livingstone, the author asserts that socialism was a conservative, nostalgic reaction to the radicalism of capitalism, and not always supposed to be advantagous to the poor. Two chapters study Hitler's claim that "the whole of National Socialism" was based on Marx, and bring to light the common theoretical basis of the beliefs of Stalin and Hitler which led to the death camps.
George Watson is a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, author of The Literary Critics and general editor of the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature.