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John Reed conveys, with the immediacy of cinema, the impression of a whole nation in ferment and disintegration. A contemporary journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, he gives us a record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally siezed power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and th John Reed conveys, with the immediacy of cinema, the impression of a whole nation in ferment and disintegration. A contemporary journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, he gives us a record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally siezed power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and the chance comments of bystanders set against an idealized backcloth of the proletariat soldiers, sailors, and peasants uniting to throw off oppression, Reed's account is the product of passionate involvement.


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John Reed conveys, with the immediacy of cinema, the impression of a whole nation in ferment and disintegration. A contemporary journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, he gives us a record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally siezed power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and th John Reed conveys, with the immediacy of cinema, the impression of a whole nation in ferment and disintegration. A contemporary journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, he gives us a record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally siezed power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and the chance comments of bystanders set against an idealized backcloth of the proletariat soldiers, sailors, and peasants uniting to throw off oppression, Reed's account is the product of passionate involvement.

30 review for Ten Days that Shook the World (20th-Century Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ty

    I just finished this one, after meaning to check it out since college. Sometimes you know a book is great even if you yourself have a hard time reading it. That was the case for me in the very well written and detailed personal account of the October Revolution in Russia, as experienced by American reporter and Communist sympathizer, Jack Reed. The excellent movie Reds is based in large part on the accounts in this book. (Warren Beauty producing, directing, writing, and starring as the author, Re I just finished this one, after meaning to check it out since college. Sometimes you know a book is great even if you yourself have a hard time reading it. That was the case for me in the very well written and detailed personal account of the October Revolution in Russia, as experienced by American reporter and Communist sympathizer, Jack Reed. The excellent movie Reds is based in large part on the accounts in this book. (Warren Beauty producing, directing, writing, and starring as the author, Reed.) I love that film, and assumed I would love the book. I certainly admire the book, and can see why a movie was made of it; Reed's descriptions of moods, sights, sounds and smells, his overall description of environment is immpeccable. The reader feels as if they are right there with Reed as he surveys the war front, walks dark streets, and experiences the unspecified yet palpable unrest that was so pervasive in all parts of Russia during that historical time. I loved these parts of the book. But the book is just as much, if not more, Reed's account of the literally scores of factions, political parties, armies, navies, congresses, and commititees. Man alive, were there committees in revolutionary Russia! Hundreds! Everywhere! Even in the Army. There was even a Commitee of Commitees, and a Union of Unions. So horribly complex were the struggles of these inummerable political/governmental groups that one could very easily get lost trying to remember who was who, and who was against what, etc. There is a brief description at the front of the book for each of the parties, but flipping back and forth grew tedious, so I gave up. A reference card as one reads is required for most people not well versed already in Russian history of the early 20th century. While I am sure Reed breaks it down better than most, the chunks are still hard for a novice to swallow sometimes. He is also a victim of his meticulous collecting, whole pages sometimes being dedicated to verbatim accounts of speeches and articles and pamphlets set out all over Russia. Makes one's head spin. Yet even then, I admired the passion with which he wrote those part of the accounts. Not exactly as moving or intriguing as the mood pieces spread throughout the pages, Reed certainly leaves no stone unturned. Unfortunatley, one has to be a geologist to keep some of them straight. I will, in all liklihood, read the book again one day, when more of it has time to process. For though Reed himself confessed that he failed to be 100% objective, his first hand account of one of the most important social shifts in world history is invaluable to historians. And his prose, (and even some poetry) is a very rich feast for any wordsmith, such as myself. A book to be admired and remembered, even when confusing. Not for everyone, and sometimes, not for me. But when it did hit with me, I was quite glad to have finally, after about eight years, picked it up and read it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Due to the various political parties that John Reed speaks of in his impassioned account of the Russian Revolution, it becomes somewhat difficult to follow the flow of events and their importance. An understanding of the struggle at hand in this tumultuous period really only requires the knowledge of two warring factions; the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), and the "Whites" (anti-Bolsheviks). Basically the absolute monarchy of Tsar Nicholas II had come to an end due to severe social and political unrest on Due to the various political parties that John Reed speaks of in his impassioned account of the Russian Revolution, it becomes somewhat difficult to follow the flow of events and their importance. An understanding of the struggle at hand in this tumultuous period really only requires the knowledge of two warring factions; the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), and the "Whites" (anti-Bolsheviks). Basically the absolute monarchy of Tsar Nicholas II had come to an end due to severe social and political unrest on the behalf of a starving, angry country. In its place a Provisional Government was formed. This was intended to be temporary of course, until a new one arose. Long before all of this, Vladimir Lenin had been writing of a working-class revolution, one spearheaded by the privileged Russian intellectuals (basically radical Marxists) who would organize it. And the Provisional Government wasn't exactly any more sympathetic to the poor lower classes; it was in support of Russia's continued participation in World War I, and would not grant them the land that much of Lenin and Trotsky's Bolshevik ideology argued that they were entitled to. John Reed, a Portland born American journalist covered most of the chaotic events of the October Revolution, including the attack on the Winter Palace, where the counter-revolutionary Whites where defeated by the Bolsheviks. After which, Kerensky leader of the Whites, fled to Pskov. As journalism, Reed's account of the events of the Revolution weren't exactly objective. Of course, Reed had unabashed Socialist sympathies. He was opposed to the war, and very much excited about what this struggle meant, not just for Russia, but for the world. There are parts throughout the book in which he expresses the excitement about how the Russian Revolution would affect other countries, and would eventually bring about an international workers' revolution inspired by the ideology of Lenin's radical Marxism. Exactly what went wrong after all of this is another story, left open for endless debate. An extreme example of socialism in the vein of Lenin's Bolshevik ideology probably wasn't the most reasonable alternative to capitalism or absolute monarchy, but at the time of the Tsar's very necessary abdication, it could've been construed as an almost transcendent change. Unfortunately, a party that ran on such extreme ideology was bound to enforce draconian laws as severe and unreasonable as that of the Tsarist Monarchy or the Provisional Government. Introduce a boorish thinker such as Stalin into the mix some decades later, and you have an ideological nightmare. Reed's book is an incredible phenomenon though. Here was a man who was front and center for all of it. One who had actually stood and listened to the speeches of Lenin and Trotsky. He writes prose that, as frantic as it occasionally sounds, seems to leap off of the page. There is an incredible attention to detail, for what must have been an overwhelming experience to take in. Ten Days that Shook the World will forever remain a classic due to its exuberance and charm; it's a testament to its authors' bold dedication to spreading the news of one of Western Europe's most pivotal events.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978bgq Description: John Reed's vivid eye-witness account of his time in Petrograd was written in early 1918 and published in the USA the following year. It was an instant best-seller, so much so that in Russia it was some years before Stalin - who is only mentioned twice in the book - felt he could ban it for its portrayal of Trotsky. Possibly naïve, definitely politically one-sided, nevertheless the veracity and impact of Reed's enthusiastic snapshot-style repo http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978bgq Description: John Reed's vivid eye-witness account of his time in Petrograd was written in early 1918 and published in the USA the following year. It was an instant best-seller, so much so that in Russia it was some years before Stalin - who is only mentioned twice in the book - felt he could ban it for its portrayal of Trotsky. Possibly naïve, definitely politically one-sided, nevertheless the veracity and impact of Reed's enthusiastic snapshot-style reportage has become a classic memoir and inspired films including Eisenstein's classic 'October' and 'Reds' which won an Oscar for its director and star, Warren Beatty. Episode 1: The Coming Storm: Autumn 1917 and Petrograd under the Provisional Government is in chaos. American journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant arrive to find the tension between factions is palpable and it's only a matter of time before the situation explodes. But in which direction? On the Eve: The confusion in Petrograd continues as the new delegates to the Congress of Soviets stream into the city. Reed gets a brief interview with Trotsky and overhears Lenin calling for a Bolshevik insurrection. But isn't Lenin meant to be in hiding to avoid arrest? Episode 3: The Winter Palace: Reed and Bryant blag their way in to the Winter Palace and meet the frightened government troops defending the building. As gunfire starts in the street, the Palace falls surprisingly easily to the victorious revolutionaries but the journalists are caught in a dangerous encounter. Episode 4: Plunging Ahead The Bolsheviks have taken the Winter Palace and seized control. Amidst a whirl of excitement, dread and rumour, Lenin abolishes all private ownership of land. Episode 5: Chill Winds Ex-Prime Minster Kerensky has joined forces with the Cossacks and is advancing on Petrograd, and there is fighting in the streets in Moscow: rumour is rife that the Revolution cannot survive. Episode 6: The Revolutionary Front: Kerensky and the counter-revolutionary Cossacks are making gains and threatening Petrograd. Reed visits the Revolutionary frontline with the Bolshevik commander-in-chief - who seems less than organised. Episode 7: Counter-Revolution: Bryant is caught up in a vicious street battle and witnesses the bloody violence of the Revolution at close quarters. Counter-revolutionary government troops holding the telephone exchange are captured by Bolshevik sailors - who then have to learn to man the switchboards. Episode 8: Victory Trotsky has claimed victory over the Cossacks and Kerensky is asking for an armistice. Reed sets out once more for the front line with a driver who takes a dim view of American democracy, and finds himself up against the illiterate brutality of the Red Guard. Episode 9: Moscow Lunacharsky despairs at the rumour that the revolutionaries' own bombardment has destroyed the historic Kremlin. Reed and Bryant set out to Moscow to see for themselves but find not everyone in the city supports the Bolsheviks. Episode 10: The Conquest of Power: The Bolsheviks have defeated the counter-revolution and are getting on with the business of government despite the threat of civil war. The abolition of all private ownership of land has won over the peasants and, for a moment, the Revolution seems to have accomplished its goals. John Reed Richard Laing Louise Bryant Kelly Burke Lenin Nicholas Murchie Kerensky Ewan Bailey Trotsky Matthew Gravelle Karelin Richard Elfyn Doorwoman Lynn Hunter Zorin Sion Pritchard

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama: John Reed's classic eye-witness account of the Russian Revolution in October 1917. Dramatised by Robin Brooks Episode 1: The Coming Storm Autumn 1917 and Petrograd under the Provisional Government is in chaos. American journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant arrive to find the tension between factions is palpable and it's only a matter of time before the situation explodes. But in which direction? Episode 2: On the Eve The confusion in Petrograd continues as the n From BBC Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama: John Reed's classic eye-witness account of the Russian Revolution in October 1917. Dramatised by Robin Brooks Episode 1: The Coming Storm Autumn 1917 and Petrograd under the Provisional Government is in chaos. American journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant arrive to find the tension between factions is palpable and it's only a matter of time before the situation explodes. But in which direction? Episode 2: On the Eve The confusion in Petrograd continues as the new delegates to the Congress of Soviets stream into the city. Reed gets a brief interview with Trotsky and overhears Lenin calling for a Bolshevik insurrection. But isn't Lenin meant to be in hiding to avoid arrest? Episode 3: The Winter Palace Reed and Bryant blag their way in to the Winter Palace and meet the frightened government troops defending the building. As gunfire starts in the street, the Palace falls surprisingly easily to the victorious revolutionaries but the journalists are caught in a dangerous encounter. Episode 4: Plunging Ahead The Bolsheviks have taken the Winter Palace and seized control. Amidst a whirl of excitement, dread and rumour, Lenin abolishes all private ownership of land. Episode 5: Chill Winds Ex-Prime Minster Kerensky has joined forces with the Cossacks and is advancing on Petrograd, and there is fighting in the streets in Moscow: rumour is rife that the Revolution cannot survive. Episode 6: The Revolutionary Front Kerensky and the counter-revolutionary Cossacks are making gains and threatening Petrograd. Reed visits the Revolutionary frontline with the Bolshevik commander-in-chief - who seems less than organised. Episode 7: Counter-Revolution Bryant is caught up in a vicious street battle and witnesses the bloody violence of the Revolution at close quarters. Counter-revolutionary government troops holding the telephone exchange are captured by Bolshevik sailors - who then have to learn to man the switchboards. Episode 8: Victory Trotsky has claimed victory over the Cossacks and Kerensky is asking for an armistice. Reed sets out once more for the front line with a driver who takes a dim view of American democracy, and finds himself up against the illiterate brutality of the Red Guard. Episode 9: Moscow Lunacharsky despairs at the rumour that the revolutionaries' own bombardment has destroyed the historic Kremlin. Reed and Bryant set out to Moscow to see for themselves but find not everyone in the city supports the Bolsheviks. Episode 10: The Conquest of Power The Bolsheviks have defeated the counter-revolution and are getting on with the business of government despite the threat of civil war. The abolition of all private ownership of land has won over the peasants and, for a moment, the Revolution seems to have accomplished its goals. Director Alison Hindell BBC Cymru Wales production John Reed's vivid eye-witness account of his time in Petrograd was written in early 1918 and published in the USA the following year. It was an instant best-seller, so much so that in Russia it was some years before Stalin - who is only mentioned twice in the book - felt he could ban it for its portrayal of Trotsky. Possibly naïve, definitely politically one-sided, nevertheless the veracity and impact of Reed's enthusiastic snapshot-style reportage has become a classic memoir and inspired films including Eisenstein's classic 'October' and 'Reds' which won an Oscar for its director and star, Warren Beatty. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978bgq

  5. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    This is simultaneously a difficult read and a pageturner - a firsthand account of the Bolshevik Revolution from an American observer, dense with details but also providing a historically priceless perspective of one of the most important events of the 20th century. Reed offer details of the factional fighting that took place during the revolution (this is a lot of the book) and the mistakes and unintended consequences that helped generate the final result. This was of less value in my opinion th This is simultaneously a difficult read and a pageturner - a firsthand account of the Bolshevik Revolution from an American observer, dense with details but also providing a historically priceless perspective of one of the most important events of the 20th century. Reed offer details of the factional fighting that took place during the revolution (this is a lot of the book) and the mistakes and unintended consequences that helped generate the final result. This was of less value in my opinion than the portraits of individual revolutionaries and the perspective on the massive social changes being wrought upon Russia by the uprising. Most evocatively Reed describes how the uprising bred an insatiable desire for knowledge and written material among the average Russian. This impact of the revolution has been noted by other scholars as well, but its amazing to see firsthand how a feeling of ownership over their society dawned upon the ordinary Russian and how this in turn fed a desire to read and know as much as possible. To the degree that people feel empowered with agency over their lives, the desire to read, write, think and debate over public issues naturally increases. The simplicity of the Bolshevik cadres also comes across touchingly at times - mostly guileless peasants who had been plugged into a social project that appealed to them after spending generations as mere subjects. Some of the scenes, such as the funeral procession at the Kremlin for the martyrs of the uprising with their "rough-hewn caskets painted red" (paraphrasing) and the great red banners over the Kremlin wall were incredibly evocative. One thing to take from this book is how informed the average Bolshevik cadre was about who they were and what their political project was. They all had a simple story that they shared and believed in, a complex story that was rendered simple so that it could be grasped and used by the average man. The Bolsheviks improbably rose to dominance in the face of widespread opposition from other social classes, including on the Left. While things did not turn out the way that they hoped (noteworthy is that Stalin himself is almost totally absent in this account), their initial moment of revolution was still a brief episode of incredible human drama and possibility.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaśyap

    The classic account of the October Bolshevik revolution that was supported mainly by the urban working classes and the large mass of sympathetic sailors and soldiers who were fed up with war and wanted peace. Even though a politically one sided work, John Reed wrote with enthusiasm and passion showing the events that took place mainly in Petrograd during the fateful days.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    It's not everyday you get to witness a major turning point in history first hand as John Reed did in November 1917. For that reason, combined with the facts that (1) he was American, (2) he had a pencil and paper available, and (3) he knew how to write, this work is something close to a must read. It's close to a must read, rather than a definitive must read, because Reed's prose lags. He did manage, however, to give a sense for a tremendous instant of anarchy that lasted for the briefest of mom It's not everyday you get to witness a major turning point in history first hand as John Reed did in November 1917. For that reason, combined with the facts that (1) he was American, (2) he had a pencil and paper available, and (3) he knew how to write, this work is something close to a must read. It's close to a must read, rather than a definitive must read, because Reed's prose lags. He did manage, however, to give a sense for a tremendous instant of anarchy that lasted for the briefest of moments as the Kerensky regime morphed into chaos and then into Bolshevism. Trotsky and Lenin make a number of appearances here as do a number of other revolutionaries, most names long lost to ears and minds. I did see Stalin's name once. Reed had quite an ability to move around Petrograd, witnessing developments and interviewing leading characters. He visited Moscow once and on another visit outside Petrograd came very close to being lined up against a wall and shot, although he was able to talk his way out of that ending. I thought of the comparison between events in Russia in 1917 and Germany in 1918. I need to do more reading on this topic, though it seems the major difference is that revolutionary fervor penetrated the Russian military to a far different degree than the German military. This caused Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht to experience opposing outcomes to Lenin and Trotsky.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    American journalist and socialist John Reed wrote about Russia's 1917 October Revolution presenting a first hand account of all the events whilst being on assignment for a socialist politics magazine called The Masses, however due to this magazine's forced closure another magazine The Liberator published his articles. Reed was able to interact with Bolshevik leaders and got much information from officials apart from his experiences and was therefore able to present his account both dramatically American journalist and socialist John Reed wrote about Russia's 1917 October Revolution presenting a first hand account of all the events whilst being on assignment for a socialist politics magazine called The Masses, however due to this magazine's forced closure another magazine The Liberator published his articles. Reed was able to interact with Bolshevik leaders and got much information from officials apart from his experiences and was therefore able to present his account both dramatically and accurately. Read it here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/reed/... http://www.bartleby.com/79/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Days...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    9 OCT 2017 - a recommendation through Bettie. Many Thanks. Give a listen here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978bgq 23 OCT 2017 - a very good listen-to. 9 OCT 2017 - a recommendation through Bettie. Many Thanks. Give a listen here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0978bgq 23 OCT 2017 - a very good listen-to.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    John Reed, a young socialist from Portland, Oregon, went to Russia in 1917 as a journalist to report on the unfolding revolution. Russia was in great turmoil, with widespread opposition to the war, a struggling economy, and shortages of basic necessities. The government was barely in control of the situation, and political influence was fractured among many political parties ranging from the far-right to the communist left. Reed was a revolutionist, and so supported the position of the bolshevik John Reed, a young socialist from Portland, Oregon, went to Russia in 1917 as a journalist to report on the unfolding revolution. Russia was in great turmoil, with widespread opposition to the war, a struggling economy, and shortages of basic necessities. The government was barely in control of the situation, and political influence was fractured among many political parties ranging from the far-right to the communist left. Reed was a revolutionist, and so supported the position of the bolsheviks: aggressively push for an alternative government composed of people's committees, and strip the existing government of all power. So this book is the story, seen from within the power struggles in Petrograd, of the collapse of the Russian government and the rise to power of the bolsheviks. This was not a coup, as right-wing historians would have us believe, but a mass uprising, with widespread support from Russian soldiers and sailors (and fierce opposition from their officers), labor unions, and (with many exceptions) peasants. The political aims were withdrawal from the war, redistribution of land, and worker control of the factories. Though the bolsheviks probably never achieved majority support for their party, it seems clear enough that their political aims were by far the majority position. The book only covers the early days, up to the assumption of power by the soviets, but already it was clear that this would not be a peaceful transition of power. The opposition by foreign capitalists and by Russian landholders would see to that. For the next five years the new Soviet Union would fight a civil war in which the anti-socialist forces were aided by foreign governments, leading to the further erosion of the economy, and, of course, great loss of life. It is hard to see how a democratic socialist state could have arisen out of those conditions: the old oligarchy still had plenty of economic and political clout and would never relinquish control without a fight. In the end, of course, the government that came out of those struggles was socialist in name only. It is tempting to blame that course of events on Stalin, but I think the seeds were sown by the existential struggle of the civil war.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hajir Almahdi

    4.6 stars Ten Days that Shocked the World talks about American journalist and socialist John Reed experience in Russia during October revolution and Bolsheviks seizer of power ( Bolshevik literally means "one of the majority", derived from Russian ) in 1917, Russia. Even though i'm familiar with the Bolshevik revolution and its events, Reed's narrative writing captured the country's situation during a hard time vividly, it was informative with quotations from newspapers, documents, eyewitnesses 4.6 stars Ten Days that Shocked the World talks about American journalist and socialist John Reed experience in Russia during October revolution and Bolsheviks seizer of power ( Bolshevik literally means "one of the majority", derived from Russian ) in 1917, Russia. Even though i'm familiar with the Bolshevik revolution and its events, Reed's narrative writing captured the country's situation during a hard time vividly, it was informative with quotations from newspapers, documents, eyewitnesses including himself and speeches of Lenin and Trotsky, which Reed experienced firsthand, he leaves you hanging on every word. It covered most of the struggles and chaotic political parties fight over power after the fall of Tsarist Russia and Tsar Nicholas II, the forming of Kerensky's provisional government, reasons that led to it's fall, the Bolsheviks insurrection under Vladimir Linen's command in Petrograd ( former name for Saint Petersburg ) and final victory. Reed clearly wasn't neutral, in fact all of his sympathies lay with the Bolsheviks due to his political beliefs, but still he takes you on journey, through Russia, it's cities and it's revolutionary people. Ten Days That Shock the World is an amazing detailed experience of one of the greatest events of the twentieth century.

  12. 4 out of 5

    dely

    Dopo circa 100 pagine mi arrendo. Ne avevo sentito parlare benissimo, come uno dei migliori libri sulla rivoluzione russa, ma non riesce a coinvolgermi. Ci sono troppi dettagli, troppi nomi di leader di partito, troppi partiti e comitati e sindacati...c'è troppo e ci si perde nei minuziosi dettagli. Inoltre, in quei giorni le vicende cambiavano da un giorno all'altro, c'erano alleanze, poi rotture, nuove alleanze, e non riesco a star dietro a tutto. È molto giornalistico, un po' troppo per i mie Dopo circa 100 pagine mi arrendo. Ne avevo sentito parlare benissimo, come uno dei migliori libri sulla rivoluzione russa, ma non riesce a coinvolgermi. Ci sono troppi dettagli, troppi nomi di leader di partito, troppi partiti e comitati e sindacati...c'è troppo e ci si perde nei minuziosi dettagli. Inoltre, in quei giorni le vicende cambiavano da un giorno all'altro, c'erano alleanze, poi rotture, nuove alleanze, e non riesco a star dietro a tutto. È molto giornalistico, un po' troppo per i miei gusti, e sembra quasi di leggere un testo scolastico freddo e distaccato, senza coinvolgimento. English After nearly 100 pages I give up. It's the second time I try to read this book, but it doesn't work for me. I don't find it interesting, it isn't flowing, I'm not engaged by it. It's said that this is one of the best books about Russian Revolution, but there are too many details, too many names of political leaders, of political parties and seen that in those days things changed from one day to the other, it's really difficult to follow or remember everything. Usually I like non-fiction, but there are too many detailed informations and it seems more a school text rather than a pleasant non-fiction about the revolution.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen McQuiggan

    1917 in Red Petrograd and the revolution is reaching boiling point; soon civil war will erupt and comrade will kill comrade. There is a naive hope and joy at the heart of this account, enough to almost melt my cynical old heart. Almost. The best parts are when Reed leaves the endless debates and decrees of Smolny and gets down among the workers and peasants of Moscow. Yet in hindsight, a lot of this seems misplaced. The prose is ungainly, even ugly in places, but it is the interminable rhetoric 1917 in Red Petrograd and the revolution is reaching boiling point; soon civil war will erupt and comrade will kill comrade. There is a naive hope and joy at the heart of this account, enough to almost melt my cynical old heart. Almost. The best parts are when Reed leaves the endless debates and decrees of Smolny and gets down among the workers and peasants of Moscow. Yet in hindsight, a lot of this seems misplaced. The prose is ungainly, even ugly in places, but it is the interminable rhetoric that gets you in the end, the long winded political posturing that crushes with oppressive boredom. As beautiful as a toaster manual it may be, but there are some real nuggets buried here and they're worth the digging.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam Windsor

    Reed reportedly wrote this in ten straight days, and it shows: it's very much a stream of consciousness, liberally stuffed with unwieldy verbatim quotations from pamphlets and speeches of the era, and festooned with ellipses to the point of there being four or five "..."s on many pages. It's an interesting read as a personal (and unreservedly biased) account of the Bolshevik rise to power, but if you want a more readable, more coherent and more structured account, I'd recommend "Six Red Months in Reed reportedly wrote this in ten straight days, and it shows: it's very much a stream of consciousness, liberally stuffed with unwieldy verbatim quotations from pamphlets and speeches of the era, and festooned with ellipses to the point of there being four or five "..."s on many pages. It's an interesting read as a personal (and unreservedly biased) account of the Bolshevik rise to power, but if you want a more readable, more coherent and more structured account, I'd recommend "Six Red Months in Russia" by Louise Bryant, who was there with Reed, as a much better choice.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    Now that the dust has settled on the Soviet Union (though not, alas, on Russian expansionism) I think the status of the October Revolution of 1917 as the most extraordinary event of the 20th century has probably if anything been enhanced. How in the name of Sergei Eisenstein did a small group of revolutionaries representing solely the needs of the proletariat where the population consisted of 80% peasantry and all the real power lay in the hands of the aristocracy gain the upper hand with barely Now that the dust has settled on the Soviet Union (though not, alas, on Russian expansionism) I think the status of the October Revolution of 1917 as the most extraordinary event of the 20th century has probably if anything been enhanced. How in the name of Sergei Eisenstein did a small group of revolutionaries representing solely the needs of the proletariat where the population consisted of 80% peasantry and all the real power lay in the hands of the aristocracy gain the upper hand with barely a shot fired in anger? John Reed, an American socialist of all things, was on hand to witness just how, and this is his account of it, one which became an instant classic and Lenin himself approved of. I have had a copy hanging around for I don't know how long and finally got around to reading it. Before you read it yourself, and I recommend you do if you are a keen student of history, take my advice and read Reed's notes and explanations section beforehand. Bless my sacred icons, there are enough political parties to occupy a hundred gulags, and that's just amongst the socialists! (Later, of course, they did occupy a hundred gulags.) After the weak Tsar Nicholas II hopped it in March the Provisional Government was led by Kerensky, a moderate socialist. He instigated an ill-judged military intervention by General Kornilov, who tried and failed to gain power for himself. The revolution survived, but the Bolsheviki were far from likely to rise to the top. Reed had free access to many of the debates in the Russian houses of parliament and a favoured access to the Bolshevik headquarters at Smolny. He didn't get to talk to Lenin or Trotsky personally but he saw them up close and heard their speeches firsthand. His description of Lenin is worth quoting at length: 'A short, stocky figure, with a big head set down in his shoulders, bald and bulging. Little eyes, a snubbish nose, wide, generous mouth, and heavy chin; clean-shaven now, but already beginning to bristle with the well-known beard of his past and future. Dressed in shabby clothes, his trousers much too long for him. Unimpressive, to be the idol of a mob, loved and revered as perhaps few leaders in history have been. A strange popular leader—a leader purely by virtue of intellect; colourless, humourless, uncompromising and detached, without picturesque idiosyncrasies—but with the power of explaining profound ideas in simple terms, of analysing a concrete situation. And combined with shrewdness, the greatest intellectual audacity.' Trotsky cuts a much more impressive figure, with Reed describing him addressing the hall on the eve of the insurrection, where his 'thin, pointed face was positively Mephistophelian in its expression of malicious irony.' The Bolsheviks were the extreme party, pretty much all the other parties, from their old allies the Mensheviks to the Cadets who represented the intelligentsia, were of a mind to work with capitalists and go slowly. The Bolsheviks acted, capturing the Winter Palace by merely occupying it with minimal resistance. And it still takes the breath away to read the proclamations they made upon assuming their shaky, largely undesired power in Petrograd. Try this for size, the first line of the first point of the Land Decree: 1. The Right of private ownership of land abolished for ever Just like that! I've often asked myself, having lived my life in the first few decades of the 19th century, whether or not I would have been a socialist, concluding that the answer is probably yes. However, I like to think that I wouldn't have been convinced by Lenin and that mob. It's not just the obvious lessons of hindsight that convinces me of that, though the paranoid brutally of Stalin (barely mentioned here so marginal a figure was he at the time) certainly besmirched the good name of communism for ever. No, the signs of where this 'experiment' was going were there from the start in Lenin's immediate U-turn on the freedom of the press. Originally he promised that this was only a short-term measure for the duration of the civil war, then as soon as the Bolsheviks gained power we get this resolution: 'The reëstablishment of the so-called “freedom of the press,” the simple return of printing presses and paper to the capitalists,—poisoners of the mind of the people—this would be an inadmissible surrender to the will of capital, a giving up of one of the most important conquests of the Revolution; in other words, it would be a measure of unquestionably counter-revolutionary character.' The other socialists in the house could see where this was going and disagreed strongly, which Reed faithfully reported, despite being a clear supporter of the Bolshevik cause. Not long after, Russia became a one-party state. But the revolution never spread across the rest of Europe, which was the Bolshevik's ultimate aim. Sure, Russia's sphere of influence soon grew into the Soviet Union, but this was only achieved by coercion and conquest. As quoted here by Reed, Trotsky famously said of the revolution: 'There are only two alternatives; either the Russian Revolution will create a revolutionary moment in Europe, or the European powers will destroy the Russian Revolution.' And yet neither of those two things happened. This is a fascinating account of an extraordinary event, brought to life by Reed's closeness to it all, his hearing the speeches and talking to some of the principle players and to ordinary people in the street. I would stop short of calling it an exciting account, however. The ten days of the October Revolution certainly shook the world, but the low-key ease in which the Bolsheviks took control barely shook the streets of Petrograd at the time; the shops and theaters stayed open, most people would have been unaware that anything was going on. Reed wrote well, and with an even hand despite his own allegiances. Only once did I detect an attempt to lower his guard and wax lyrical, when he attended a mass funeral (called a Brotherhood Grave) on his one flying visit to see what was happening in Moscow: 'I suddenly realised that the devout Russian people no longer needed priests to pray them into heaven. On earth they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer, and for which it was a glory to die….' I can understand him thinking that at the time, but oh how wrong he proved to be.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eadweard

    4.5/5 I was planning on reading this during the week of the 100th anniversary but I couldn't help myself. A bit biased? Sure. Bonus material: October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1928) The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Ten Days that Shook the World is a compendium of eye-witness reporting and translated (except for some illustrations) source materials from this pivotal point in the Russian Revolution. The book was penned by John Reed, a socialist journalist from the United States, who was the subject of the Warren Beatty movie, Reds. One must confess that this book wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be from the cover illustration. Said cover illustration on my aging copy had two revolutionaries with rifles in Ten Days that Shook the World is a compendium of eye-witness reporting and translated (except for some illustrations) source materials from this pivotal point in the Russian Revolution. The book was penned by John Reed, a socialist journalist from the United States, who was the subject of the Warren Beatty movie, Reds. One must confess that this book wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be from the cover illustration. Said cover illustration on my aging copy had two revolutionaries with rifles in hand and barbed wire in the background. It is touted to be “The Great Classic on the Russian Revolution.” Indeed, it is, but it is much more about the politics bringing about the overthrow of Kerensky’s provisional government than it is about military movements and confrontations during the revolution. To be sure, there are a few pages dedicated to descriptions of violence, but very few. Rather, Reed details the debate between the factions who together formed the revolutionary alliance: Bolsheviki, Menshiviki, Populist Socialists, Socialist Universalists, Oborontsi, Leftist Socialist Revolutionaries, Unified Social Democrats, and at least ten more party factions represented within the Petrograd Soviet. For those who doubt the power of pen and word, Ten Days that Shook the World is a must-read. The various Soviets and, particularly the Petrograd Soviet, fight battles over proclamations, armistice with Germany, manifestos, accusations, and representation/leadership. In addition to getting details on revolutionary politics, I was surprised that I personally had never read Trotzky’s Pan-European vision: “At the end of this war I see Europe recreated, not by the diplomats but by the proletariat. The Federated Republic of Europe—the United States of Europe—that is what must be.” (p. 69) The book also documented some of the hostility the Mensheviki and Socialist Revolutionaries held against the Bolsheviks. I wasn’t quite sure if Reed believed the charge of atrocities leveled at the Bolsheviks on p. 190: “’The notice posted in the streets under the heading ‘To the Pillory,’ which calls upon the people to destroy the Menshiviki and the Socialist Revolutionaries,’ said Nazariev, ‘is a crime which you, Bolsheviki, will not be able to wash away. Yesterday’s horrors are but a preface to what you are preparing by this proclamation….’” The chaos of revolution was demonstrated vividly to me from this eye-witness description: “Before we reached Moscow almost every car had organized a Committee to secure and distribute food, and these Committees became divided into political factions who wrangled over fundamental principles….” (p. 221) The chaos was also demonstrated when the Bolshevik artillery was directed at the banking centers. “Wherever we didn’t know where the yunkers and White Guards were, we bombarded their pocketbooks….” (p. 222) The idealism of the revolution clearly followed the Marxist line where religion was considered a s opiate. At one point, Reed opines: “I suddenly realized that the devout Russian people no longer needed priests to pray them into heaven. On earth they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer, and for which it was a glory to die….” (p. 229) It was fascinating to read the rationale for destroying the opposition newspapers and printers of proclamations/manifestos. “If the first revolution had the right to suppress the Monarchist papers, then we have the right to suppress the bourgeois press. It is impossible to separate the question of the freedom of the Press from the other questions of the class struggle.” (p. 238) One should also check out this cautionary observation about public opinion: “The savages set up gods to which they pray, and which they punish if one of their prayers is not answered….Yesterday Kerensky; today Lenin and Trotzky; another tomorrow….” (p. 268) In the days of Stalin, that observation proved pretty prescient. Another interesting fact was revealed in this reading. The early peace attempt by Lenin in addressing the Allied Ambassadors of Europe directly was received “…with contemptuous silence, accompanied by anonymous interviews in the newspapers, full of spite and ridicule.” (p. 254) But even if one didn’t find Reed’s recollections to be enlightening and entertaining, Ten Days that Shook the World would be worth having in one’s library for the multitude of appendices which quoted and explained primary sources in significant detail. Ten Days that Shook the World is a marvelous remedial course in the history of that period.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    I gave this a go after the Arabist noted that no one had yet to write the 'Ten Days that Shook the World' of the Arab Spring: http://www.arabist.net/blog/2012/8/28... I'm not sorry I read the book, byzantine, unfocused, and sentimental though it was. Reed was clearly immersed in the history of all the players as the October Revolution came to a head- he jumps in midstream and gleefully recounts the intrigues of Bolsheviki, Mensheviki, Mensheviki Internationalists, Cadets, Left Socialist Revolutio I gave this a go after the Arabist noted that no one had yet to write the 'Ten Days that Shook the World' of the Arab Spring: http://www.arabist.net/blog/2012/8/28... I'm not sorry I read the book, byzantine, unfocused, and sentimental though it was. Reed was clearly immersed in the history of all the players as the October Revolution came to a head- he jumps in midstream and gleefully recounts the intrigues of Bolsheviki, Mensheviki, Mensheviki Internationalists, Cadets, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, provisional governments, all kinds of ad hoc worker, soldier, and peasant organizations, and enough committees to bring the cows home. And Reed often captures the stunning anticlimax of an underdog victory- wandering through the Winter Palace after the Red Guards take the building, for example, where the primary issues seem to be confusion and a brave effort to keep people from stuffing their pockets with souvenirs. Reed's at his best capturing snippets of key players dashing to and from the next battle and in his relentless cataloguing of the tsunami of posters, notices, circulars, articles, pamphlets, and marginalia of the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces. That said, Reed is of course an unreliable narrator hugely invested in the Bolshevik narrative. He is prone to sudden, maudlin, and often condescending bouts of sentimentality. For example, while describing the burial of Bolshevik-affiliated dead at the Kremlin Reed takes a moment laden with potential pathos and kills it with the memorable line, "The poor love each other so!" Reed goes to endless lengths to describe the rough, simple, uneducated, dirty, smelly, and ect. nature of his proletarian protagonists; despite this he never really conveys what passions, convictions, and other forces motivated ordinary people to participate in one way or another in this second revolution. Reed may be ideologically committed to rule of the proletariat but he's certainly first and foremost an elite in the vanguard- he writes about working people as though they were a noble but alien race. The best lines, of course, go to a forceful, contemptuous, devastating Lenin- try these remarks on a movement within his own party to reestablish freedom of the press: "To tolerate the bourgeois newspapers would mean to cease being a Socialist. When one makes a Revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go forward- or go back. He who now talks about the 'freedom of the Press' goes backward, and halts our headlong course toward Socialism...It is impossible to separate the question of the freedom of the Press from the other questions of the class struggle. We have promised to close these newspapers, and we shall do it. The immense majority of the people is with us!" There certainly are interesting historical paralells to draw, some founded and others less so. But Reed does a good job of showing how categorically easy it is to outflank moderates, and how the threat of a coup from the right lends leverage to those seeking an equally drastic turn to the left. Amidst the chaos, confusion, and misery of this revolution, the most ideological and committed parties were best positioned to sieze power in a winner-takes-all strategy. The failures of republican-minded Russian revolutionaries to carry the day are left to another book's analysis.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rodney Harvill

    In 1917, there were two revolutions in Russia. The first, in March (March by the Gregorian calendar, February by the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time), toppled the Tsar and established a provisional government under social democrat principles. The second, in November (Gregorian calendar), toppled the provisional government and set up a communist dictatorship under Vladimir Ulyanov’s (Lenin) Bolsheviks. This book is an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik revolution written by an America In 1917, there were two revolutions in Russia. The first, in March (March by the Gregorian calendar, February by the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time), toppled the Tsar and established a provisional government under social democrat principles. The second, in November (Gregorian calendar), toppled the provisional government and set up a communist dictatorship under Vladimir Ulyanov’s (Lenin) Bolsheviks. This book is an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik revolution written by an American journalist who was in Russia at the time. In general, I found the book to be disjointed. Mr. Reed transitions from narrative to the text of a speech by some leader back to narrative to the text of a proclamation back to narrative. Sometimes these speeches and proclamations discussed policy, sometimes ideas, sometimes assertions about events. Sometimes, I found it difficult identifying where the proclamation ended and where the narration began afresh. With regards to the speeches, closing quotations gave me a bit of a clue. One possible additional contributor to the disjointed nature of the book is the chaotic nature of the events. At the end of the book is a set of Appendices, one from each chapter, containing additional relevant speeches, proclamations, etc. Normally, I find a book to be easier reading than such appendices. In this case, I found the appendices easier to follow because each item in the appendices was clearly identified as well as where it began and ended. So, what did I learn about the Bolshevik revolution and its background? • In the wake of the Russian revolution, there were many different political parties, each with a different vision of the revolution, each claiming to best represent and carry on the revolution, each claiming to represent the people of Russia. • Before and during the Bolshevik revolution, all sides used deliberate misinformation to slander political opponents with misconduct and atrocities that hadn’t happened. Sometimes, these claims were true; sometimes not. No one side had clean hands in this matter. • The hostilities of the Bolshevik revolution were initiated by the Bolsheviks in an effort to bypass the give and take of parliamentary legislation. • During the Bolshevik revolution, there were those who wished to stay neutral. As tempting as it may be to bolster your side by conscripting neutrals to your cause, it is usually a bad idea in that such efforts often turn neutrals into enemies. Kerensky, a leader in the provisional government, made the mistake of firing on neutrals as he approached Petrograd to drive the Bolsheviks out. The neutrals reacted by siding with the Bolsheviks and may well have tipped the balance in their favor. • The secret of Vladimir Ulyanov’s success was his single-minded, uncompromising attitude. Yes, he was a very skilled orator, but his unwillingness to compromise gave him an advantage over those who would compromise with him. Each compromise merely moved others closer to him until finally they were tied to his coat tails. One final point. John Reed was a socialist and was highly sympathetic to the Bolsheviks. In contrast, I am of the better dead than red viewpoint, having come of age during the Reagan administration and having entered military service late in the Cold War. No doubt this colors my view of the book, but I have tried to give an honest assessment of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    I can't say this was an easy read (unlike other works that focus more on the execution of the Czar and his family), but it is probably the most comprehensible and concise volume on the Bolshevik coup - a very complicated event. Of course, for a casual reader like myself I was still a little overwhelmed with a plethora of Russian names and various left/right political groups and factions representing everything from the elite armed forces to peasants groups. This is not to say there were not part I can't say this was an easy read (unlike other works that focus more on the execution of the Czar and his family), but it is probably the most comprehensible and concise volume on the Bolshevik coup - a very complicated event. Of course, for a casual reader like myself I was still a little overwhelmed with a plethora of Russian names and various left/right political groups and factions representing everything from the elite armed forces to peasants groups. This is not to say there were not parts that were highly readable. When the narrative veered away from reprinted speeches and proclamations and focused more on Reed's first hand observations in St. Petersburg and Moscow, I was definitely more engaged with the material. Reed, who was passionately pro-socialism, died in 1920, thus never saw how things ultimately turned out. The Bolshevik program certainly looked good on paper before it morphed into Totalitarianism. I makes me want to revisit Warren Beatty's biopic Reds at some point.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jean-François Tremblay

    A very interesting, dense, complicated book. Trying to remember the names of all the councils, groups, parties, etc, is a bit of a chore. But it is an important book, that helps understand what happened in Russia in that time period. And it is now a classic. But... be aware that this is very one-sided. I knew it would be, but it is almost funny sometimes how much of a propaganda tool this book is.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    Lenin himself gave this book a good review and I think that says enough. Very informative and beautiful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darran Mclaughlin

    A stunningly vivid ground level account of the October Revolution. John Reed, an American reporter who sympathized with the the Revolution, puts himself into all sorts of incredibly dangerous situations in order to get the story. This is journalism at its best and most courageous. Reed moves between battlegrounds and taverns, government offices and meeting halls to report on what has been called the most significant historical event of the 20th Century. You hear a polyphony of voices from leadin A stunningly vivid ground level account of the October Revolution. John Reed, an American reporter who sympathized with the the Revolution, puts himself into all sorts of incredibly dangerous situations in order to get the story. This is journalism at its best and most courageous. Reed moves between battlegrounds and taverns, government offices and meeting halls to report on what has been called the most significant historical event of the 20th Century. You hear a polyphony of voices from leading Revolutionaries like Trotsky and Lenin to moderates and representatives of Bourgeois reformists, but also ordinary people (a poor descriptor because everyone in this book is extraordinary) like Sailors and Peasants and Trade Unionists and Bureaucrats. I can see me becoming like those middle aged guys who read nothing but military history, but for revolutionary history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leo H

    A very difficult book to review for several reasons, a.) there's so much going on in it, b.) it's a history book, so the criteria are a bit vague, is it good if it's engaging? Detailed? Historically accurate? and c.) this is an overt piece of Soviet propaganda, Reed was an out and out supporter of the Bolsheviks, he's buried in Red Square and the book has a forward written by Vladimir Lenin. Like, the actual Lenin. So we need to understand 'Ten Days that Shook the World' not only as a document o A very difficult book to review for several reasons, a.) there's so much going on in it, b.) it's a history book, so the criteria are a bit vague, is it good if it's engaging? Detailed? Historically accurate? and c.) this is an overt piece of Soviet propaganda, Reed was an out and out supporter of the Bolsheviks, he's buried in Red Square and the book has a forward written by Vladimir Lenin. Like, the actual Lenin. So we need to understand 'Ten Days that Shook the World' not only as a document of history but as a historical object, written in 1920 by a journalist who witnessed first-hand the extraordinary events of the October Revolution in Russia, but one who had a clear and obvious bias towards the Bolsheviks. An important thing to keep in mind then when reading this book is where this bias manifests itself, is Reed suppressing information that paints Lenin and Co. in a bad light? Is he intentionally running down the Bolshevik's (many and varied) rivals within the political sphere? This all needs considering. But also, without the express consent and support of the Bolsheviks, there is no doubt that Reed wouldn't have had the same access to the meetings, debates, councils, the freaking Winter Palace minutes after it was stormed by the Red Guard, and memorably he would've been shot by some Bolshevik soldiers who thought he was a spy. This is the tension at the heart of any 'official' history, without access to the necessary information any account will be patchy at best, but in order to be granted access, your write-up had better toe the party line. In this case, quite literally. So Ten Days that Shook the World contains first-hand accounts of events no other journalist was present to report on. There is of course, a great deal to be said regarding the events themselves, whether what happened was right or wrong, at what point the Soviet Revolution changed from the liberation of the Russian people to a murderous totalitarian state (if it was ever a liberation to begin with), but it's late, and I'm tired. Reed's style is amazingly thorough (be prepared for six page footnotes) but infectious in its enthusiasm and sometimes utterly beautiful. The passage where he recounts the 'Red Burial' in Moscow after the November civil war, stood atop a mound of earth as the bodies are interred in the Red Square is one of the most poignant pieces of journalism I've ever read. A fascinating, detailed account of one of the most important moments in modern history then, but not without its own issues. A document subject to the same debates and rationalisations as the period it documents. It's made me want to read more into the subject, to find out which parts are accurate and which parts aren't, and to read more into bits Reed doesn't go into too much depth on, and to me, that's the mark of a good history book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joe Strnad

    Reed actually lived through the Russian Revolution of 1917 in St. Petersburg so he knows what he's talking about. However, he was a member of the American Communist Party and this leads to a very biased view of events. He favors the Bolshevik; the book borders on propaganda as opposed to objective journalism. This being said, it is still a more nuanced view than official Soviet Party history. The reader gets a good sense of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the events of November 1917: starv Reed actually lived through the Russian Revolution of 1917 in St. Petersburg so he knows what he's talking about. However, he was a member of the American Communist Party and this leads to a very biased view of events. He favors the Bolshevik; the book borders on propaganda as opposed to objective journalism. This being said, it is still a more nuanced view than official Soviet Party history. The reader gets a good sense of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the events of November 1917: starving soldiers leaving the German front streaming back to the cities, various committee meetings with animated debate, workers taking up arms, and the beginning of the civil war when Kerensky resigns from the provisional government. Lenin is described as a calm, fatherly figure, speaking in even measured tones while Trotsky is portrayed as a fiery orator.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    A vivid read, which captures the confused and confusing nature of a country in the grip of a revolution that was to change the world. However, this is very clearly a one-sided account of events - Reed wears his Bolshevik sympathies on his sleeve and makes little effort to distinguish between the countless fracturing opposition factions, which leaves the reader somewhat bemused at times. I also found his style of writing somewhat irritating, and unless the reader has some knowledge of Russia befo A vivid read, which captures the confused and confusing nature of a country in the grip of a revolution that was to change the world. However, this is very clearly a one-sided account of events - Reed wears his Bolshevik sympathies on his sleeve and makes little effort to distinguish between the countless fracturing opposition factions, which leaves the reader somewhat bemused at times. I also found his style of writing somewhat irritating, and unless the reader has some knowledge of Russia before and during the revolution, the lack of historical context may put some off reading what is otherwise an important and fascinating account of a crucial period in 20th century history.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter Hoff

    This eyewitness account of the Bolshevik October Revolution reads like a set of faculty senate minutes occasionally punctuated by machine-gun fire. It is a blend of narration and extensive quotation from documents of the moment. As such, it does not read very well, but is a valuable "in the moment" description of the revolution by an American Journalist who was granted intimate access to the Bolshevik inner circles.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara Kearns

    another one i have to re-read, and am super-excited to do so. it blew me away the first time, and i expect it will again. 'highly recommended. and i'd also recommend the film made about the book's author and his wife, "reds," with diane keaton, warren beatty, and jack nicholson. it's one of my favorites.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karlo Mikhail

    Passes as an important historical account. But all too often falls to sensationalism (makes up some stuff to make events more dramatic) and hagiography (thinks that Lenin and Trotsky are Gods in human flesh). I liked the Soviet-illustrated comics "Introducing the Russian Revolution" or Rius' "Lenin for Beginners" better. Great appendix though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thom Dunn

    NOT A REVIEW The movie Reds, loathed by many, is valuable for having both Jerzy Kosinski and Henry Miller in speaking parts, Kosinski as Trotsky, Miller as himself opining: "I think there was just as much fucking going on then as there is now..."

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