The Bloshevik Myth


A firsthand account of the Russian Revolution, from American anarchist Alexander Berkman. At first a supporter, Berkman became disillusioned by the Communists and their repressive system of party dictatorship and state capitalism.

When Alexander Berkman (1870-1936) – a leading American anarchist of Russian origin – returned to Russia in 1919, he was welcomed as a hero by the Bolshevik regime. Berkman and his companion and comrade Emma Goldman – having been deported from the United States for their anti-war activities, and fired with revolutionary enthusiasm – were determined to work for the Russian Revolution. The Bolshevik Myth–first published in 1925–is Berkman’s account of the two years he spent in the Soviet Union, his meetings with Lenin, Trotsky, Kropotkin, and above all with the Russian people, the ordinary men and women who were suffering hunger, disease and persecution. It is the story of chaos, bureaucratic incompetence and economic ruin. A story of warring revolutionary factions, barbarism, repression and fear, leading to the author’s complete disillusionment with the Bolshevik system. In his new biographical introduction, Nicolas Walter, quoting from contemporary publications and unpublished manuscript sources, compares The Bolshevik Myth with Berkman’s diary from the period – on which the published book is based – and examines some of the complications of Berkman’s relationship with Emma Goldman, whose writings he edited. This edition includes too, the conclusion to the book, left out of the original publication, as the publisher deemed it an ‘Anti-Climax’.

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