Todorov's contention is that totalitarianism imposed itself because, more than any other political system, it fed on people's need for the absolute: it promised to endow life with meaning by enabling them to take part in the construction of paradise on earth. As a result, millions of people lost their lives in the name of a higher good. Tzvetan Todorov's brilliantly incisive book examines the history of the past century by analyzing its spectacular political conflicts and by offering moving profiles of individuals who, at great personal cost, resisted the strictures of the communist and Nazi regimes. Hope and Memory is a profound moral and political history by one of the world's most original thinkers. It confirms how, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the crimes of the past continue to cast long shadows.