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Victor Serge: A Political Biography

The first biography to give due weight to the commitment and optimism of this great political thinker
Revolutionary novelist, historian, anarchist, Bolshevik and dissident – Victor Serge is one of the most compelling figures to have emerged from the history of the Soviet Union. A dedicated activist who joined the Bolsheviks in 1919 and fought in the siege of Petrograd, only to be later consigned to poverty and persecution for rejecting both capitalism and Stalinism, he was a keen observer of his times. Carefully wrought and meticulously researched, Susan Weissman’s Victor Serge is the definitive biography of an extraordinary man.

Reviews

  • “Victor Serge is one of the unsung heroes of a corrupt century: a figure of great political courage and humanity. It is a pleasure to see this major witness to our time at last get the careful, sympathetic and informed biography he has so long deserved.”
  • “Victor Serge was probably the greatest working-class writer of the twentieth century. As this superb study makes clear, he was also the Revolution's most ardent lover and indestructible conscience.”
  • “Biography has many tasks, the most salient of which is obviously the recreation of a human personality for subsequent generations. Sometimes, this duty takes the form of a rescue operation, by which the record of an important life is prevented from toppling into oblivion. And sometimes, too, it is necessary to redeem a reputation from calumny. At the point where this is done properly, biography may shade into history and alter the way in which we view an epoch. Susan Weissman’s study of Victor Serge meets all the above conditions.”
  • “Have you ever come across one of those madmen who joyfully, ironically and lightheartedly strove to build the world soviet republic? Or one of those revolutionaries who never gave up hope, despite betrayal and defeat, prison and exile? Susan Weissman presents Victor Serge, a member of that race of giants, a gargantuan in the fight for freedom and collective happiness.”
  • “In 1968, when I was preparing for a poetry reading in Mexico, my Mexican friends loaned me Victor Serge's typewriter. My fingers almost froze as each touch of the keyboard brought to life the ghosts of the past…This is a unique book about a unique man, Victor Serge, who, in being one of the first to fight for a truly humanitarian socialism, was punished for his shame at the betrayal of the revolution he so longed for.”

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