Communist Textbooks of Yore

The great thing about Communist textbooks — or maybe the only great thing about them — is that they don’t have any copyright holders. So, intrepid collectors are able to post quite a few of them online without worrying to much. Such is the case of this growing collection of textbooks from Communist Romania, where you’ll find everything from math to history and foreign languages.

Just to give you a taste of the wonders one learned in 1989 during a French class, here’s a page from a third-year French textbook, with my very literal translation.

“In the chemistry lab, there are test tubes and little bottles with substances.

Students make experiments with sulfuric acid.

A few drops of acid slip down the bottle. Be careful with your fingers!

Marius was not careful and he burned his finger.”

And there’s more where that came from: paeans to agriculture, celebrations of International Workers’ Day, poems by famous French Communists like Paul Eluard, to give but a few examples. The textbooks that came after this one, in the early 1990s, were quite a radical change, with colorful characters like Fifi, la fourmi — a far cry from Marius and his friends.

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