The Unknown Revolution: 1917โ€“1921


This is the untold story of the Russian Revolution: its antecedents, its far-reaching changes, its betrayal by Bolshevik terror, and the massive resistance of non-Bolshevik revolutionaries. This in-depth, eyewitness history written by Voline, an outspoken activist in the Russian Revolution, contains a biography of the author by Rudolf Rocker and a contemporary introduction from anarchist historian Iain McKay Significant attention is given to what the author describes as “struggles for the real Social Revolution”; that is, the uprising of the sailors and workers of Kronstadt in 1921, and the peasant movement that Nestor Makhno led in the Ukraine. These movements, which sought to defend the social revolution from destruction by the politicians, provide important material for a clearer understanding of both the original objectives of the Russian Revolution and the problems with which all revolutions with far-reaching social objectives have to contend. Of particular interest to the student of the Russian revolution are the chapters of personal experiences and those in which the author, drawing on the revolutionary press of the time, reveals the deep cleavage between the objectives of the Libertarians and those of the Bolsheviks, differences which the latter “resolved” by ruthlessly eliminating all those who stood in their way in the struggle for power. This edition is a translation of the full text of La Révolution inconnue, first published in 1947. It reinstates material omitted from earlier English-language editions and reproduces the complete text of the original volumes. Voline, writer, educator, and poet, was exiled by the Tsarist tribunal and ordered by Trotsky to be executed but was rescued by protests. He never ceased to live up to his chosen nom de guerre, based on the Russian word for freedom.

status Copy #1 (9047): in
genre History ยป European History
publisher PM Press
publish date 2019
popularity checked out 1 time(s)


  • By Bill Svoboda -

    This is a solid 4 star-except for the 2019 intro. In his intro, Iain McKay spends 89 pages saying exactly what Voline goes on to say in the main section of the book- and Voline’s prose, as well as his arguments are clear, forceful and easy to read. This is a book that would benefit so very much from a current day exploration of (relatively) non-ideological matters of viewpoint, context and nuance (example: the conflicted role of the SRs)-instead, McKay spends it “beating a dead Bolshevik”.
    In regards to the main text of this book, anyone seriously interested in 20th century history or leftist ideology will want to at least skim parts of it (one of the great advantages to reading non-fiction is that it can be read “out of sequence”, skimmed and or read in small bits and pieces). One of these small pieces-Voline’s conversation with Bukharin- pp. 244-245, was, for me one of the most revealing parts of the entire book.
    ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** Trying so hard to look over our shoulders, we march backwards into the future.

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