Synopses & Reviews
In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of “direct action”—workers’ control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society.
Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to present a picture of the philosophers, bomb throwers, peasants, and soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of “Mother Russia.” Including the influence and ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, the armed uprisings of Makhno, the activities of Volin, Maximoff, and the attempted aid of Berkman and Emma Goldman.
Paul Avrich is a retired professor of history at Queens College.
In the Russian insurrections, anarchists waged partisan warfare for full liberty and equality.
About the Author
Paul Avrich (August 4, 1931 - February 16, 2006) was a professor and historian. He taught at Queens College, New York for most of his life and was vital in preserving the history of the anarchist movement in Russia and the United States. As the son of a Jewish family, originally from Odessa, Avrich was able to travel to the USSR as an exchange student in 1961 after Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 US visit. While there working on his thesis, The Russian Revolution and the Factory Committees, he researched the Kronstadt rebellion and the role of anarchists in the Russian Revolution. This information allowed him to produce pioneering and important works on this subject. As a teacher at Queens College, he sought to pass to his students an "affection and sense of solidarity with anarchists as people, rather than as militants" and was described as a "trusted friend" to many older anarchists whom he had met and interviewed, saving their stories for history. He wrote extensively on topics related to anarchism, including books on Sacco and Vanzetti, the Haymarket Riot, and the Kronstadt rebellion. Other important works include a biography of Voltairine de Cleyre, The Modern School Movement and Anarchist Portraits. He also edited the important oral history collection, Anarchist Voices. He was nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize for History. He also spoke regularly at the Libertarian Book Club in New York. Avrich donated his collection of nearly 20,000 twentieth-century American and European anarchist publications and manuscripts to the Library of Congress.