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Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia (Soviet History, Politics, Society, and Thought) Paperback – June 22, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0253203175 ISBN-10: 0253203171 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Soviet History, Politics, Society, and Thought
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (June 22, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253203171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253203175
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A surprisingly moving story." -- The New Yorker

"Bogdanov's imaginative predictions for his utopia are both technological and social . . ." -- Science Fiction Studies

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the subtitle of this book points out, Alexander's Bogdanov's "Red Star" was "The First Bolshevik Utopia." Bogdanov was a major prophet of the Bolshevik movement and while the red star of his title is the planet Mars, he is clearly envisioning the kind of society that could emerge on Earth after the victory of not only the scientific-technical revolution, a belief that can be traced in utopian literature back to Francis Bacon's "The New Atlantis," but also the social revolution dictated by Marxism. The future of "Red Star" is the radiant future of socialism that Bogdanov believed would eventually triumphant everyone on earth. At one point in the novel the hero, a Bolsehvik activist named Leonid, declares: "Blood is being shed for the sake of a better future. But in order to wage the struggle we must KNOW that future." Of course, Bogdanov believes that he does indeed know the future, thanks to the writings of Marx and Engels.
From a historical perspective the key thing to keep in mind is that Bogdanov is writing well over a decade before the Russian Revolution. In fact, he is writing in reaction to the 1905 revolution that compelled Tsar Nicholas II to issue a constitution and create a parliament. This came after the 1903 split of the Russian Marxists into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Like the hero of "Red Star," Bogdanov went with the former and Lenin, and was one of the original "twenty-two" who met in Switzerland to form a group dedicated to disciplined revolutionary action. As part of this effort, Bogdanov wrote "Red Star.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 23, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These two novellas, Red Star (RS) and Engineer Menni (EM), capture a fascinating time and frame of mind. The time was 1908 (1913 for EM), when the Bolsheviks were gaining strength but before their 1917 revolution against the Tsarists.

RS describes a Socialist Utopia on Mars, documented by a visitor from Earth. He is chosen among all earthmen for his properly revolutionary spirit, and whisked away to Mars as their earthly envoy. This Socialist paradise presents an odd paradox of individual vs. collective. Individual achievement is nominally scorned, because of the historical inevitability of a discovery, or because honoring the great inventor would implicitly dishonor the farmer or laborer. Still, the story focuses on the magnificent achievements of exceptional scientists, silently mocking the brotherly equality supposedly being celebrated. EM is a similar tribute of hero-worhip for a fictional engineer of RS's pre-Socialist past, with similarly hollow regard for the common proletarian.

Actual descriptions of the Martian Utopia sometimes sink under the weight of revolutionary rhetoric, but I consider that to be part of this book's value. The narrator's socialist zeal, bordering on ranting, seems to capture an actual mind-set of the time, or perhaps a fictional mind-set that Bolshevik propagandists wanted people to believe in. Every fact in the story had to be intepreted in a properly socialist way, down to details of physics and children's squabbles over toys.

This monomania, whether Bogdanov genuinely felt it or not, explains much of Soviet history up to the recent fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
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By Rafael on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first systems thinking history oriented book.
Bogdanov had a futurist mind, the Utopia become a nightmare for totalitarism and a light for dreamers.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gdo145 on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'M COMPLETLY SATISFIED. I RECEIVE MY BOOK

QUICKLY AND IT WAS NEW. I JUST HAVE TO SAY

THAT I'M SATISFIED
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