Book Review: Revolutionary Monsters: Five Men Who Turned Liberation Into Tyranny


Revolutionary Monsters: Five Men Who Turned Liberation into Tyranny, Donald T. Critchlow. ISBN: 978-1-68451-124-2, eISBN: 978-1-68451-149-5, Regnery History.

All sparked movements in the name of liberating their people from their oppressors—capitalists, foreign imperialists, or dictators in their own country. These revolutionaries rallied the masses in the name of freedom, only to become more tyrannical than those they replaced.

Much has been written about the anatomy of revolution from Edmund Burke to Crane Brinton Crane, Franz Fanon, and contemporary theorists of revolution found in the modern academy. Yet what is missing is a dissection of the revolutionary minds that destroyed the old for the creation of a more harmful new.

Revolutionary Monsters presents a collective biography of five modern-day revolutionaries who came into power calling for the liberation of the people only to end up killing millions of people in the name of revolution:  Lenin (Russia), Mao (China), Castro (Cuba), Mugabe (Zimbabwe), and Khomeini (Iran). Revolutionary Monsters explore basic questions about the revolutionary personality and examines how these revolutionaries came to envision themselves as prophets of a new age.

“Captivated by liberation movements, American youth idolize the political revolutionaries who have led them–even those who are among the evilest men in history. And those who should know better encourage these utopian fantasies rather than tell their naïve followers the truth about their monstrous idols. The twentieth century was filled with men who promised freedom but delivered tyranny and death on a massive scale. They purported to liberate their people from their oppressors–whether capitalists, foreign imperialists, infidels, or autocrats–but subjected them to the most comprehensive dictatorships the world has ever seen.”

“Political charlatans like these are hardly a thing of the past. Warning that heady revolutionary dreams are bound to end in misery, Critchlow offers a steadying tonic against the intoxicating power of ideology.”  Donald T. Critchlow

About the Author:  Donald T. Critchlow is the Katzin Family Professor at Arizona State University and the author of several books, including In the Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy (2020), Republican Character: From Nixon to Reagan (2018); The Conservative Ascendancy: How the Republican Right Rose to Power in Modern America (2011); Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade (2005); and Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government in Modern America (1999). He leads the Program in Political History and Leadership at Arizona State University, a certificate program that provides students with a robust civic education.


We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.


  1. Making an “undereducated” statement here: I don’t know about Lenin and Mugabe, but I see Mao, Castro and Khomeini as true patriots.

  2. Mao certainly did not end up killing millions of people in the name of revolution. That’s standard ‘demonize rival leaders’ nonsense. Truly democratic leaders like Hugo Chavez are labelled ‘dictators,’ and leaders of big countries are ‘monsters’.

    Mao did more good for more people than anyone and less harm than anyone in history–which is why 1,000,000 people visit his birthplace every month. And, btw, nobody starved to death in the ‘great famine’.

Comments are closed.