November 7, 1917, the American writer John Reed said, was "Ten Days That Shook the World." A hundred years on, the anniversary of the October Revolution is celebrated and debated. But, for more than seventy years the revolution inspired millions around the world, in the belief in socialism, and for an end to colonialism. The failures of the Soviet Union have not however diminished the hopes, aspirations and renewed faith in socialism - a socialism of a different type.
On the centennial of the Russian Revolution, John Reed's first-hand look at the uprising of workers, peasants, soldiers and sailors is fit reading about a mass movement that overthrew the old aristocracy and then the bourgeois class itself. An exposition on ordinary people making history for themselves, the book is a gripping account of events in Petrograd, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks lead the various workers councils in finally seizing state power.
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China Miéville looks at the Revolution as a hopeful flashpoint that briefly showed the promise of socialist transformation, before descending first into an authoritarian nightmare and then today's corrupt capitalism. Written with an urgency designed for our era of struggle absent clear political ideologies or unified mass socialist organizations, Mieville focuses on the revolutionary moment, using his skill as a story teller to see the participants in real time.