Over at the Rain Taxi Review of Books, Vladislav Davidzon has written an excellent review of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, providing a valuable historical overview and evaluation of her frequently overlooked importance—in the Anglo-American world, at least—to the political struggles and development of socialist thought in the early 20th century. Davidzon's review delves both into her extraordinary life as well as into the world-changing historical events that influenced it and which are mirrored afresh through her correspondence and most personal insights. He writes,
One sign of the multidimensionality of Rosa Luxemburg's life and work is the way she appeals to thinkers and activists coming from a number of different directions. Some view her primarily as a brilliant economist, who wrote the first study (at least since Marx's Capital) of capitalism's inherent drive for global expansion. Others view her mainly as a path-breaking political thinker, because of her embrace of spontaneous forms of revolt and her searing critique of those who fail to grasp the centrality of mass participation and democracy in efforts at social revolution. Others are drawn to her largely because of her striking personality, which exhibited a fiercely independent spirit and a fascination with both the beauty and tragedy of the human and natural world. The great merit of Jacqueline Rose's review of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is that it focuses on what connects the many strands of Luxemburg's legacy—her profound appreciation of the transformative power of the human intellect.
Robert Turnbull reviews The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg for the Times Literary Supplement, discussing the book's resonances with contemporary issues:
[The letters] reveal the struggle that Luxemburg undertook to rise to the top of European political life, and the effects of her efforts on her physical and mental health, in an era when women, especially Jewish women, were not expected to play a part in public life ... Luxemburg's correspondence reveals an extraordinary range and breadth of concerns and interests, from her exchanges with numerous European socialist leaders, including Lenin, Leo Jogiches, Clara Zetkin and others, to sharp disputes with her colleagues ... There are contemporary resonances, too. For example, we find Luxemburg writing to Karl Kautsky in 1906 that "the Achilles heel of the movement in St. Petersburg, as it is with us in Poland, the colossal unemployment which is spreading like a terrible plague."
In his review for PopMatters, Rick Dakan compares the experience of reading The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg to that of walking across Hans Haacke's "monument" to Luxemburg in Berlin's Rosa Luxemburg platz—the book acts as a "similar kind of memorial, a kind of sliver of one woman's life bound together in one place."
Writing on The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg for the Jewish Daily Forward, Joel Schalit notes a certain agelessness to the writing of Rosa Luxemburg:
Not just for her fellow anti-capitalists struggling to effect a proletarian revolution, but also for women striving for equality, Luxemburg's writing has a particularly contemporary quality to it, which helps disguise its actual age. Obsessed by the idea of agency, Luxemburg's theory of spontaneity predates the fierce debates about the decline of the subject in postmodern and leftist critical theories that have been standard fare since Michel Foucault.
Particularly hostile to the notion of bureaucracy, critical of the failings of "revisionist" (read Social Democratic) and Bolshevik leadership, Luxemburg aspired to a kind of revolutionary consciousness that she believed could be realized only by working people who, to paraphrase philosopher Immanuel Kant, under the right circumstances could govern themselves. Whether this is actually possible or not is a different story. Nonetheless, it was Luxemburg's firm belief that the proletariat could aspire to such that helped fuel her faith in the possibility of creating a new society.