THE LOST REVOLUTIONARY by O'Connor Richard & Dale L. Walker


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Building on the 1936 Granville Hicks biography--John Reed -- The Making of a Revolutionary--the authors have done an admirable job (although one would wish that their indebtedness to Hicks would be specifically stated) in moving the perspective on Reed's time and accomplishments thirty years forward. Although the book must have been the part-time work of two busy men doing other things, it is exceedingly well put together, elegantly styled, and is bound to preempt the field for thirty years to come. Reed is not now well known to the present generation; in many ways his type of visceral radicalism has something of the antique to it. In the years in which he functioned, the young Harvardian and scion of one of the richest Portland, Oregon families, was looked upon as the Stokely Carmichael of the Bolsheviki and as a de-classed traitor to the American plutocracy. His career was an amazing one--within his thirty-three years of life he accompanied Pancho Villa as a journalist, helped organize the American Communist Party, wrote Ten Days That Shook the World (probably the best eye-witness account of the Soviet Revolution), became Soviet consul in New York, and had himself buried in the Kremlin upon his death in 1920. A man of enormous energy, restlessness, and eccentricity, he is somewhat ill-served by the authors' thesis that what we had here was a lost soul carrying out youthful fantasies.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World