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My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen (My Past and Thoughts)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Alexander Herzen's own brilliance and the extraordinary circumstances of his life combine to place his memoirs among the greatest works of the modern era. Born in 1812, the illegitimate son of a wealthy Russian landowner, he became one of the most important revolutionary and intellectual figures of his time: as theorist, polemicist, propagandist, and political actor. Fifty ...more
Paperback, 752 pages
Published April 2nd 1982 by University of California Press (first published 1968)
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Sep 11, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: soviet-history
I find Herzen a most personable and approachable man. I admire his great personal confidence and independence of mind, one entirely unafraid of confronting shop-worn ideas and contradicting the pious of whatever faith. And through it all - and I do mean all - a close observer of revolutionary Europe and European revolutionaries and socialists. I now understand fully his vaunted rejection of abstractions and disembodied notions of "freedom" and "justice." And I can read books such as Venturi's "R ...more
Arthur Robbins
Jan 06, 2013 Arthur Robbins rated it it was amazing
One of the most endearing and remarkable books I have ever read. I own the original four volumes of his memoirs, not the one volume abridged version. I was so sad when the journey came to an end. Herzen and I had become close friends. I miss him.
Dmitriy Slepov
Sep 24, 2014 Dmitriy Slepov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Не надо думать, что это скучная классика. Прекрасная книга, раскрывающая подробности интересной жизни интересного человека, дающая увлекательное и при этом простое описание революционного движения тех времён изнутри, т.е. совсем не так, как рассказывали в школе. Спокойная, умная и увлекательная книга, весьма рекомендуется к прочтению.
Feb 03, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Read some of this in Russian in the 70s. Must review my notes before reviewing …Do recall his imprisonment in the 1830's, and Paris around the 1848 revolution. Peasants were placed under police instead of Gogol's assessors: police who were "predatory, carnivorous, corrupt" (223, '82 ed). After reviewing, some notes here.
On Proudhon bringing out Voix du Peuple from prison: Few subscribers, but up to 60,000 in street sales, 30 times more expensive the next day. Fines questioned, for ex for an ac
Dec 05, 2015 Dan rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
For me this was two books, the first half about someone born into Russian higher society during the 19th century and who grew up to agitate authorities already leery or revolutionary activity, and the second half about the man in Europe watching the revolutions of other nations as an outsider. But through it all is one man, Alexander Herzen, who oddly, I never felt as if I got to know even though we read quite a few of his thoughts.

To be fair this book is an abridgment of the larger, 4 volume se
Aasem Bakhshi
Beyond doubt, the most beloved literary monument among all genres in my library. Going through this 700 page abridgement from the original four tomes can only leave you with the desire to read the original Constance Garnett translation of complete four volumes. Its so unfortunate that Dwight MacDonald decided not to include that long essay, 'A Family Drama' in this abridgement for editorial reasons.

Its very hard that something socio-politically meaningful and interesting can be uttered about Her
Jan 26, 2009 Eric marked it as to-read
Is Constance Garnett's really the only English translation of this? Ugh.
Отчего людей не устраивает та жизнь, которой они живут? Почему они грезят о прошлом, ругают настоящее время и с пессимизмом смотрят в будущее? Разве не были подвержены таким же чувствам предшествующие поколения? Их аналогично не устраивала действительность, вынуждая в тёплых оттенках вспоминать ушедшее. Не ценит человек своих достижений, самолично порождая проблемы, пестуя их и возводя в абсолют. Александр Герцен был подвержен таким же чувствам, активно ругая правление Николая I и восхваляя Алек ...more
Jan 06, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing
A Russian exile that ran in the same circles, but did not like, the progenitors of communism and socialism.
May 24, 2007 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: memoirs from a member of the russian intelligentsia during the mid 19th-century
a man on par with Dostoevsky in importance, Alexander Herzen was a foremost member of the 19th-century Russian revolutionary movement that paved the way for Lenin and Bolshevik/Menshivik conflicts to come. Fueled by French philosophy, Herzen recalls the eagerness of Russia to reform itself in the midst of generational conflicts and new ideas continuously wanting to overtake those of the past. Great story of an amazing life during the birth of modern Russia and parts of modern Europe! Any sociali ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Philip rated it liked it
Readable but ultimately disappointing.
Nov 01, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
So many different sides to this book. A brilliant encyclopedia of a certain slice of intellectual history. A meditation on youth and memory. The most fascinating and excruciating description of the experience of losing one's wife to a pretentious poseur. Penetrating glimpses of Russia. The Russian version is much better--large, important passages are dropped in the English translation. But still.... A memoir that feels as though it encompasses a life, with growth, sorrow, multiple forks, and eve ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it
Someday (probably not) I'll finish the unabridged version in four volumes, but even having read only the first two books I can say this is one of the three or four best memoirs I've found.
May 18, 2014 Tatsiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"..Этим китайским царством материальной, животной жизни, чинолюбия, крестолюбия, деньголюбия, взяточниства.."
Несколько сотен лет прошло, а всё одно и тоже
Jul 21, 2007 Mellisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collegereads
A call to lives of action. Why isn't Herzen more widely read in the West? His thoughts are what inspired Tolstoi and that's all I'm going to say.
Apr 23, 2013 Nor rated it really liked it
I have yet to read the entirety of Herzen's masterwork, but from what I've read, I consider him a friend.
Emma Richler
Jul 15, 2013 Emma Richler rated it liked it
To be honest, fairly hard going at times.
Lillian Marek
Jun 14, 2012 Lillian Marek rated it it was amazing
Truly fascinating.
Alex Chapay
Alex Chapay marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2016
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Sep 26, 2016
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Sep 21, 2016
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Christopher Howard marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2016
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Sep 15, 2016
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Sep 13, 2016
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Reniel Cuña marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2016
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Sep 04, 2016
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Sep 03, 2016
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Ana Luísa marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2016
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Yates Laure marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
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Alexander Ivanovich Herzen (Russian: Александр Иванович Герцен) was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism", and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism (being an ideological ancestor of the Narodniki, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Trudoviks and the agrarian American Populist Party). He is held responsible for creating a political climate leading to th ...more
More about Alexander Herzen...

Other Books in the Series

My Past and Thoughts (7 books)
  • My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen, Volume 1
  • My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen, Volume 2
  • My Past and Thoughts: Memoirs Volume 3
  • My Past and Thoughts: Memoirs Volume 4
  • My Past and Thoughts: Memoirs Volume 5
  • My Past and Thoughts: Memoirs Volume 6

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