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Ten Days That Shook the World (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 28, 2007

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About the Author

John Reed (1887-1920) American journalist and poet-adventurer whose colorful life as a revolutionary writer ended in Russia but made him the hero of a generation of radical intellectuals. Reed became a close friend of V.I. Lenin and was an eyewitness to the 1917 October revolution. He recorded this historical event in his best-known book TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (1920). Reed is buried with other Bolshevik heroes beside the Kremlin wall.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141442123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141442129
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is from George Orwell's proposed preface to "Animal Farm":

"At the death of John Reed, the author of 'Ten Days that Shook the World' -- a first-hand account of the early days of the Russian Revolution -- the copyright of the book passed into he hands of the British Communist Party, to whom I believe Reed had bequeathed it. Some years later the British Communists, having destroyed the original edition of the book as completely as they could, issued a garbled version from which they had eliminated mentions of Trotsky and also omitted the introduction written by Lenin."

Don't worry, though. This Penguin Classics edition is the version of Reed's book as originally issued, with all the Trotsky references and even Lenin's preface intact.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By David Dove on April 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
A fascinating, dramatic historical document penned by John
Reed of the Russian Bolshevik revolution. Skip
the totally unnecessary revisionist introduction written by
A.J.P. Taylor in the Penquin paperback edition added
gratuitously in 1977 and enjoy this masterful work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chris on December 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a piece of writing, this book is excellent. I wish I could write as well as Reed does in this book. Reed was obviously a very good journalist and that stands out in this book, even if his fervent bias toward the Bolsheviks is evident.

The book covers the weeks after the November 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power but also devotes some coverage to the events leading up to that revolution. The immediate background to that revolution was the revolution of March 1917. The latter revolution overthrew the Czar and set up a provisional government for Russia. The March revolution also saw the rise of the Soviets, local councils of workers, peasants and soldiers established in virtually every locality in Russia. National bodies for the different types of Soviets (workers, soldiers, etc.) existed as did a general Congress of Soviets. The Soviets existed alongside other local government bodies--Zemstvos and Dumas--that were created during the Czar's time. The Russian masses--overwhelmingly peasants--wanted the redistribution of feudal land to themselves and the ending of Russia's involvement in World War I. Russia's involvement in World War I drained Russia's resources to such an extent that the country was on the verge of complete collapse. But the provisional government insisted on carrying on Russia's involvement in the war, as food shortages, death of soldiers and chaos reached catastrophic levels. After a few months, the provisional government fell under the influence of moderate socialists who believed that not only did Russia need to continue its involvement in World War one but that the country was not ready for a socialist revolution.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ed Gehead on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
A valuable and detailed account of the events during a few days in October/November 1917 when the communists wrestled power from the Kerensky provisional government. American John Reed was as naive as the Russian common man who joined the then populist Communist movement believing that it was well-intentioned and would govern compassionately. At its very beginning when Reed was involved the Communist regime had not yet exposed its brutal inhuman side. What Reed witnessed was the intense maneuvering that occurred as Kerensky attempted to retain power and Lenin/Trotsky countered by setting up a shadow organization that finally prevailed by getting the support of a military that was in mutiny over the continuation of the WWI. Even today Reed's account of the maneuvering during the final days of the Kerensky government is considered the most detailed and accurate. However, it should be noted that the communists destroyed most other accounts of this period because they were not favorable to the communists.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard I. Pervo on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
this is a book read again after 50 years. It has lost nothing. R's journalistic instinct and poetic gifts have not faded. The account became so famous that even some participants preferred it to their recollections. R was a passionate promoter of the Bolshevik coup, of course. Objectivity is not an issue. He does capture the flavor of revolutionary change, the excitement, the uncertainty, the endless talk. His descriptions of events, the smell of crowded meetings, bowls of cabbage soup one can almost taste, reckless rides to the front in overcrowded trams, are exceptionally vivid. This shows revolution at the moment of greatest hope.
still a classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cassian Ardent on June 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title suggests, John Reed's account of the October revolution is unabashedly pro-Bolshevik. I suppose that makes it useful to a variety of different people. People who want to portray rank and file communists as dupes will find plenty of ammunition. On the other hand people who sympathize with communism will be able to contrast the idealism of the old Bolsheviks with the cynical cruelty of the Stalin regime. It can be read either way *with the benefit of hindsight.*

To me the important thing about a book like this is that it can and should be read without that hindsight. Marx couldn't have possibly known, in the 1870's, how his magnum opus would be used to justify the crimes of the Stalin regime in the 1930s, nor could Reed have known that in the 1910's, any more than you or I or anyone else can know what will happen tomorrow or the day after. People had to do the best they had with limited information - obviously in this case a lot of people got a lot of things wrong. If we want to move the grounds of discussion out of the realm of politics and ideology, where all kinds of childish sophistry can masquerade as profound thinking, and into the grounds of history, where real conversation is still possible, we have to make allowances for the limitations of the human condition. Neither people who were for or against communism could have possibly known the future. As it turned out the people who were for it had to go on the record as having made a serious blunder, while people who were against it got to switch their line after the fact and pretend they had always known.

At least for me, this book is a corrective to that kind of thinking.
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