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Year One of the Russian Revolution
Serge exposes the heart of the vital first year of the most important working class revolution in history.
Brimming with the honesty and passionate conviction for which he has become famous, Victor Serge’s account of the first year of the Russian Revolution—through all of its achievements and challenges—captures both the heroism of the mass upsurge that gave birth to soviet democracy, and the crippling circumstances that began to chip away at its historic gains. Year One of the Russian Revolution is Serge’s attempt to defend the early days of the revolution against those, like Stalin, who would claim its legacy as justification for the repression of dissent within Russia.
Reviews
  • “[T]he re-issuing of this remarkable work, by a truly remarkable individual, is so timely, and welcome...For all its faults (and Peter Sedgwick, who translated this work, is unsparing in his criticisms of some of Serge’s analyses), this work is a tribute to an outstanding, and unyielding revolutionary who told it as he saw it, was a fearless opponent of Stalin, and an intransigent revolutionary to his dying day. More importantly, it gives the reader an ability to comprehend the hard choices facing revolutionaries at a time when no one knew the outcome, when the very revolution itself was facing defeat...All of which makes this an heroic work.”
    —Richard Allday, Counterfire


    “He was an eyewitness of events of world historical importance, of great hope and even greater tragedy. His political recollections are very important, because they reflect so well the mood of this lost generation . . . His articles and books speak for themselves, and we would be poorer without them.”
    Partisan Review

    “I know of no other writer with whom Serge can be very usefully compared. The essence of the man and his books is to be found in his attitude to the truth. There have of course been many scrupulously honest writers. But for Serge the value of the truth extended far beyond the simple (or complex) telling of it.”
    –John Berger

    “A witness to revolution and reaction in Europe between the wars, Serge searingly evoked the epochal hopes and shattering setbacks of a generation of leftists…Yet under the bleakest of conditions, Serge’s optimism, his humane sympathies and generous spirit, never waned. A radical misfit, no faction, no sect could contain him; he inhabited a lonely no-man’s-land all his own. These qualities are precisely what make him such an inspiring, even moving figure.”
    —Book Forum

    “The novels, poems, memoirs and other writings of Victor Serge are among the finest works of literature inspired by the October Revolution that brought the working class to power in Russia in 1917. . . . His articles—like the work of John Reed, his American friend—let us follow revolutionary events as they unfold, as seen through the eyes of an exceptionally alert journalist.”
    —Scott McLemee

    "Victor Serge is one of the unsung heroes of a corrupt century."
    —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

Related blog posts View all related posts

  • Victor Serge, The Unconquered

    William Giraldi for The Baffler

    Some writers are destined to have two deaths—the first in life, and the second in memory. The lucky ones can be resurrected from that second death by cultural circumstance and the aid of overseeing angels, irked by injustice, believing these Lazaruses should be helped from their tombs. In 2004, Susan Sontag opened her essay “Unextinguished” with this query, much to the present case: “How to explain the obscurity of one of the most compelling of twentieth-century ethical and literary heroes, Victor Serge?”



    Continue Reading

  • The Death Agony of the Monarchy: Russia on the eve of revolution

    In this extract from his History of the Russian Revolution, which Haymarket is republishing to mark the centenary of 1917, Trotsky describes the final days of Imperial Russia. Incompetent, vain, and stobbornly ignorant of all around them, the royal family and decrepit aristocracy appear utterly divorced from reality, powerless to prevent their imminent overthrow.

      
    Skobelev Square during the February Revolution, by A.M. Gerasimov. Open Source.

    The dynasty fell by shaking, like rotten fruit, before the revolution even had time to approach its first problems. Our portrayal of the old ruling class would remain incomplete if we did not try to show how the monarchy met the hour of its fall.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Victor Serge

  • Life and Death of Leon Trotsky

    Translation of the combined memoir and tribute by Trotsky's widow and his close friend, first published in France in 1951.
  • Witness to the German Revolution

    In 1923 history stood at a cross roads. Serge unapologetically lent his pen to those fighting for international workers' revolution.
  • Revolution In Danger

    Assailed by counter-revolution from within and without, Victor Serge brings to life the unwavering revolutionary commitment of red Petrograd.