Milovan Đilas (1911 – 1995) was a Serbian Montenegro-born politician, theorist and author who was a towering figure in the Yugoslavian Liberation movement and in the new nation it spawned. However, he had a complex relationship with Marshal Tito and this set him on the road to becoming one of Europe’s most famous democratic socialist dissidents.
During WWII, Đilas served a high rank in the Yugoslav partisan army close to the future president Josip Broz-Tito, when he also authored several works, published by the underground Yugoslav Press. After the liberation he became an esteemed Yugoslav politician and was regarded as Tito’s possible successor. In 1953, Milovan Đilas was about to be chosen as President of Yugoslavia, but was soon expelled from the Central Committee of the party, as he started showing an open criticism towards the contemporary directions of the Communism.
In November 1956, Milovan Đilas was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for his criticism of the political situation in the international press. Just before the arrest he managed to send a manuscript of one of his most important works New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System to an American publisher.
This book, which among other stated, that “the Communist political bureaucracy uses, enjoys and disposes of nationalized property”, became an instant hit and was translated into approximately 40 languages. This Arabic version, published in Beirut, was printed with a copyright of the original publisher.
The Yugoslav Communist leaders, embarrassed by the publication, sentenced Đjilas to another sever years of imprisonment. He was released in 1961.
Because the book is not dated and there were other Arabic editions, it is difficult so establish, how many examples are housed in the western libraries.