Based on a wealth of archival material released after Mao's death, this book offers a revisionist account of the introduction and triumph of Marxism in China. Dirlik shows that, in 1919, at the outset of the May Fourth Movement, anarchism was the predominant ideology among revolutionaries and intellectuals and Marxism was virtually unknown. Three years later, however, the Communist Party of China had emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Left. Dirlik disputes long-held beliefs about the domestic origins of Chinese Communism to argue that Communist thought and organization were brought into radical circles by the Comintern. Though Chinese radicals would not have turned to Communism unassisted, he concludes, Marxist ideology took hold easily when introduced from the outside. This book will prove indispensable to scholars of Chinese history and politics, Asian studies, Marxism, and comparative communism.