Yearbook on International Communist Affairs

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Book cover of the 1984 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs

Yearbook on International Communist Affairs was a series of 25 books published annually between 1966 and 1991 which chronicled the activities of communist parties throughout the world. It was published by the Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University. Richard F. Staar served as its editor in chief for most of its editions.

The Yearbook was widely regarded as an objective, comprehensive, detailed, reliable, and unique reference work on communist affairs around the world. Some reviewers also offered critiques. Quotes of both kinds of reviews are included below.

Quotes[edit]

  • The international communist movement has had a profound impact inupon the modern world. In the half-century since the Bolshevik Revolution the movement has expanded steadily. Communist parties now rule in fourteen countries and are active in some 75 others. At the same time, the movement has become more complex and fragmented, particularly as divergent tendencies have arisen in the past dozen years. For these reasons, the Hoover Institution decided to begin publication of a Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, a project designed to provide an annual compendium and reference work for scholars, teachers, students, policymakers, journalists, and others.

Quotes about Yearbook on International Communist Affairs[edit]

There is, indeed, some irony in the appearance of this worthy series two decades after it was most urgently needed. In the years after World War II, when intense anti-Communist sentiment in Western Europe and the United States coloured the reporting of developments in the Communist world scholars, government officials and the public at large would have profited greatly by the dispassionate appraisals which characterize the Yearbooks
  • One problem that did not face the analyst until the 1960s was the constitution of the international Communist movement. The parties that belonged to the Comintern were the orthodox parties, and even after its dissolution there was no problem in identifying members of the 'Stalinist international.' Within the last decade, however, the scene has been confused by the appearance of Marxist- oriented-guerrilla and 'New Leftist' movements which also might be designated 'Communist.' The editors of the yearbook have coped with this development by treating as Communist parties only those that describe themselves as Marxist- Leninist and are so recognized by authoritative Communist publications, such as the World Marxist Review. This is not a bad solution for identification of 'orthodox.' Communist parties. What the editors do not face up to, however, is the concept of the 'international Communist movement.'
    • Morris, Bernard S. (1 December 1970), "Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1968. by Richard V. Allen", Slavic Review 29 (4): 704–705 
  • It is the only comprehensive survey, in any language, of what is happening in the communist world. In this single volume we find the distillation of a year's research by full-time researchers working at the Hoover Institution and by correspondents and analysts located throughout the world.
    • J.S.R. (1 September 1971), "Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1970 by Richard F. Staar", Il Politico 36 (3): 617 
  • [The book series] constitute a scholarly tool of inestimable value for anyone interested in international affairs. As today's events constitute tomorrow's history and as these volumes give an extensive coverage to Asian countries, it was felt that the attention of this Journal's readers should be called to these excellent publications. The amount of useful information contained in these volumes is truly amazing and they are mercifully free from any trace of cold war terminology or polemics.
  • The volumes are, in short, extremely comprehensive and are as well researched and authenticated as the elusive activities of Communist parties, many of them clandestine, can be. The tone of the essays, meanwhile, is detached and impartial. While individual authors may sometimes lean on rumour and hearsay where concrete evidence is lacking, none of them can be charged with gratuitously perpetrating a distorted impression of world communism or of displaying a bias toward individual parties.
    • McLane, Charles B. (14 July 1972), "1970 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs and 1971 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs by RICHARD F. STAAR", Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes 14 (3): 548–551 
  • There is, indeed, some irony in the appearance of this worthy series two decades after it was most urgently needed. In the years after World War II, when intense anti-Communist sentiment in Western Europe and the United States coloured the reporting of developments in the Communist world scholars, government officials and the public at large would have profited greatly by the dispassionate appraisals which characterize the Yearbooks. Today these appraisals are less crucial to a grasp of world affairs. The world Communist movement itself, wracked by its own internal convolutions, is a less formidable force in international politics than it once was, or appeared to be. Most of the parties dealt with in meticulous detail in the Yearbooks are now almost without significance in their local political setting and are not likely to gain stature in the years immediately ahead; their leverage in international affairs is negligible. The parties that are important – that is, those in power and a dozen or so others which play an active part in democratic systems (as in Italy and France) – are better understood today through wider and more exacting research. The Yearbooks, for instance tell us nothing about the activities of the Eastern European parties or of the CPSU that is not already known through a variety of sources readily available to anyone interested.
    • McLane, Charles B. (14 July 1972), "1970 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs and 1971 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs by RICHARD F. STAAR", Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes 14 (3): 548–551 
Copies of this already well-established reference tool will be well thumbed this year. But with all revolutionary events in the so-called communist world, the most important parts of it are now esoteric history
  • Copies of this already well-established reference tool will be well thumbed this year. But with all revolutionary events in the so-called communist world, the most important parts of it are now esoteric history. Of course, this yearbook never claimed to be more than a meticulous report of the previous year's events. The usual provision of lists of party congresses and parties, and a wonderful bibliography, still make it essential for those who dare to retain an interest in comparative communism. Though the editor notes that 'the world revolutionary process, thus, is still alive if no longer well' (p. xxxiii), he was using ' revolution' in a very different sense from most of his readers, who have since watched the breaching of the Berlin Wall and the coming of political pluralism to most of Eastern Europe.
    • Segal, Gerald (1 July 1990), "1989 Yearbook on International Communist Affairs. by Richard F. Staar", International Affairs 66 (3): 650–651 

External links[edit]