'October Song' - A challenging portrayal of the Russian Revolution
Review of Paul Le Blanc, October Song: Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924
Date Written: 2018-10-26
Publisher: Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23133
A review 'October Song,' Paul Le Blanc's book about the Russian revolution. Detailed with excerpts and criticism.
Amid a flock of volumes marking the Russian revolution's centenary last year, Paul Le Blanc's October Song is set apart by its unique method. Working from English-language sources, Le Blanc offers us an anthology of assessments and viewpoints on the revolution with "a strong inclination to privilege older things" - that is, testimony and opinions from its early years.
The result is a kaleidoscope of observations, some by respected historians and many by unknown or forgotten voices, which, taken together, constitute a far-ranging debate over the meaning of these world-shaking events....
Le Blanc deploys varied testimony to buttress his conviction that the Russian revolution was necessary and that the course of the early Bolshevik party, which led the Soviet government, was broadly speaking the best possible under the circumstances. While forceful, his argument here is not original. Of greater interest is his discussion of the weaknesses he perceives in the Bolshevik's understanding of this revolution's dynamics.