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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2023
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Book description

In Red Internationalism, Salar Mohandesi returns to the Vietnam War to offer a new interpretation of the transnational left's most transformative years. In the 1960s, radicals mobilized ideas from the early twentieth century to reinvent a critique of imperialism that promised not only to end the war but also to overthrow the global system that made such wars possible. Focusing on encounters between French, American, and Vietnamese radicals, Mohandesi explores how their struggles did change the world, but in unexpected ways that allowed human rights to increasingly displace anti-imperialism as the dominant idiom of internationalism. When anti-imperialism collapsed in the 1970s, human rights emerged as a hegemonic alternative channeling anti-imperialism's aspirations while rejecting systemic change. Approaching human rights as neither transhistorical truth nor cynical imperialist ruse but instead as a symptom of anti-imperialism's epochal crisis, Red Internationalism dramatizes a shift that continues to affect prospects for emancipatory political change in the future.


‘In this capacious transnational account, Mohandesi helps us see how shifting visions of Leninism and the Vietnam war were the critical fulcrums through which human rights came to displace anti-imperialism in 1970s French and American radical politics and the enduring significance of those transformations for the human rights project today.’

Mark Philip Bradley - author of The World Reimagined: Americans and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century

‘This is one of the very best recent manuscripts on the history of the Long Sixties and Seventies in any language. Well-written, well-informed and always challenging. Exemplary in its juxtaposition of internationalism, anti-imperialism and human rights, future scholars will be unable to avoid or ignore this pathbreaking work.’

Gerd-Rainer Horn - author of The Moment of Liberation in Western Europe: Power Struggles and Rebellions, 1943–1948

‘In luminous prose and with incisive clarity, Salar Mohandesi’s brilliant excavation of the rise and fall of radical anti-Vietnam War activism illuminates key strands of the 20th century: the power of Leninist anti-imperialism, the shifting shapes of internationalism, the rise of human rights, the appeal of self-determination, and the dynamics of transnational activism. Essential reading.’

Barbara Keys - author of Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s

‘Offering a rich tapestry of the complex evolution of global connections, [t]his intricately researched study explores the influence of anti-imperialist theories and conceptualizations that particularly centered on the conflagration in Vietnam. Vietnamese revolutionaries served as models for like-minded young rebels elsewhere, particularly helping to shape radical political movements in both France and the US. … Highly recommended.’

R. C. Cottrell Source: Choice

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