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What impact did Bolshevist rule have on Emma Goldmans’s perception of the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and why did she change her mind, going from defending the Russian Revolution to becoming a crusader against Bolshevism?
The Russian Revolution changed the world and determined the history of the 20th century as the French Revolution had determined the history of the 19th century. Left-wing intellectuals around the world greeted the February Revolution with enthusiasm as their hope for a new world and social order and the end of capitalism seemed close. However, the joy did not last long as the ideals of February 1917 were replaced by the realities of October 1917 and Lenin crushed the revolution during the following Civil War. Emma Goldman, a famous Russian-born American anarchist was one of the intellectuals, whose admiration for the revolution turned into frustration about its corruption. Emma Goldman and the Russian Revolution discusses her evolving perception of the revolution between 1917 and the early 1920s. The analysis of such an intellectual transformation process, provides a case study of intellectual and revolutionary history alike, adding a closer reading to the research about the famous American anarchist, Emma Goldman, her transnational life and her role as a revolutionary intellectual.
Frank Jacob, Nord University
A compelling account of Emma Goldman’s personal and political journey through the Russian Revolution. Jacob centres Goldman’s contribution to political theory at this crucial juncture for the international left, as her hopes from abroad unravel as she witnesses the Bolshevik corruption of the Revolution first-hand. In this book we see Goldman through the lens of her many identities: anarchist, feminist, celebrity, publicist, friend, and lover, all skilfully woven together into a sharp and entertaining narrative. It is a difficult task to say something innovative about either Goldman or the Russian Revolution, yet Jacob manages this admirably.
Dr James Michael Yeoman, author of Print Culture and the Formation of the Anarchist Movement in Spain, 1890-1915 (Routledge, 2020)
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