Revolution and Reality: Essays on the Origin and Fate of the Soviet System

Revolution and Reality: Essays on the Origin and Fate of the Soviet System

Revolution and Reality: Essays on the Origin and Fate of the Soviet System

Revolution and Reality: Essays on the Origin and Fate of the Soviet System

Synopsis

Disillusioned by communism as a young man, Wolfe devoted his life to the study and writing of Russian history. These essays show how clearly he understood the precious quality of freedom and the durability of despotism as it is experienced under totalitarian governments. His analyses of the contemporary Soviet scene, though often at odds with prevailing opinion, have repeatedly proven to be correct.

Excerpt

ByLewis S. Feuer

That Bertram D. Wolfe had written an enduring classic Three Who Made a Revolution was recognized as soon as it was published in 1948. Isaiah Berlin judged it as having "a degree of authority" unmatched by any similar book; William Henry Chamberlin said that it was "by far the best history of the Russian revolutionary movement available in English" while Edmund Wilson declared it "the best book in its field in any language." Now that Bert is no longer with us, the story should be told of how this gentle, courteous, and warm-hearted man became the penetrating student of the revolutionary spirit.

Bert Wolfe's formative years recapitulated those of Lenin and Trotsky. From the time he became a radical socialist in 1917, thereupon losing his post as a teacher in the Boys' High School in Brooklyn, New York, Bert lived for most of the next thirteen years the fitful, tangential existence of an underground revolutionist. He was familiar with the faction fights, the agitation of party conferences, the wanderings in foreign capitals, the tactical duels with the secret police, the camouflage of false names, the sparse rations of food and shelter. Together with John Reed, Bert wrote the Manifesto of the National Left Wing of the Socialist party, which in his old age he still characterized proudly as "a document of largely native American radicalism." in 1924 he worked his way on a ship to the Fifth Congress of the Communist International, bearing a Mexican passport and his credentials as a representative of the Mexican party. in the United States he had previously edited (under a pseudonym) a newspaper in San Francisco that was jointly financed by a curious directorate drawn from . . .

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