18 May, 2021

The Word Rang Out: ‘Brothers!’

The source for alternative systems through Soviet reinventions, the Russian Revolution is now recalled with uneasy sufferance

Lenin makes a speech in Moscow in May 1920. Trotsky and Kamenev, later Stalin’s victims, stand to the right.
Photograph by Alamy
The Word Rang Out: ‘Brothers!’

A Red Yankee

  • The Bolshevik Revolution is the subject of one of the great eyewitness accounts. John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook The World, introduced by Lenin and emblazoned with notices, speeches and the urgent heat of events, is a personal record and a historical document. It also helped create an enduring myth about 1917.


Of all the revolutions in world history, none reinvented itself as often, as successfully and with such global significance as the Russian Revolution. The English Revolution did not stretch beyond the Channel, except to the thin line of American colonies, spreading confusion through a scattered population from Maryland to Massachusetts. The American Revolution kept its libertarian urges locked in the Americas, with a minor extension to the Philippines in 1902, after running a full war with the ‘natives’. And it was only during the Cold War, over a century-and-a-half after that revolution, that ‘American democracy’ became ripe for export, a...

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