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Memoirs of a Revolutionist

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4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  328 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
This fascinating story of the dramatic conversion from prince to anarchist provides a study of the early anarchist movement and an extraordinary portrait of the Russia of Kropotkin's youth.
Paperback, 504 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Black Rose Books (first published 1899)
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Ilse
Sep 28, 2015 Ilse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kropotkin "The Anarchist Formerly Known as Prince" T-Shirt

First serialized in an American (!) magazine as ‘Autobiography of a Revolutionist’, this account of his life by the anarchist, pacifist and scientist Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) was published in England in 1899. It draws an exquisite depiction of tsarist Russia under the rule of tsar Alexander II (1855-1881 ), the movements advocating social and political change in Russia at that time and the development of socialist and anarchist activities and ideology in Switzerland, France and England, in th

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Bryn Hammond
Aug 01, 2014 Bryn Hammond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Russian nineteenth century I have had down as the most interesting century that ever was. These memoirs are extremely readable. Highlights include his moving pages on the abolition of serfdom; his rather exciting escape from prison; his unstinting admiration for revolutionary women; and a crowd of incidents, tragedies, idealism, bravery in suffering, that might be told in a paragraph each, but that strike home the more truly for not being overdrawn. Amazing times. Warmly recommended.
Andrea
Mar 23, 2014 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Kropotkin: geographer, former aristocrat, anarchist revolutionary. This is a fascinating glimpse into Russia before the revolution through his childhood, into the intellectual development of someone seeking to understand their own position and privilege in the world, and their attempts to transform it. Also many insights to a branch of anarchism I quite like, and a study of how cooperation is as common as competition in the world. Much of this book was unexpected.

Some quotes:
Besides, I began gra
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Micah
Feb 22, 2011 Micah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: radicalism
A fascinating picture of Russia and early socialism. . . . the well-known episodes like the attempt of the Marxists to push the Latin federations out of the IWMA are of course discussed, but more interesting are the now-obscure episodes, the Polish revolt, the women's movement, the Nihilists (not at all what comes to mind when nihilism is discussed today), and the "V naród", "to the people" movement, which made a huge impression on Kropotkin. Sometimes one thinks of the 19th century as one of co ...more
Chris Chapman
Oct 06, 2015 Chris Chapman rated it it was amazing
An inspiring book about an inspiring life. A book that leaves you with renewed faith in human nature. He comes across as not only hugely intelligent, dynamic, and principled, but also a lovely, modest person. Be patient with the first chapters which talk about him growing up in a privileged family, which might not be what anarchists and other students of the Russian revolution are looking for. Although even here there are very interesting insights into what life was like in the elite, and the ex ...more
DoctorM
Dec 13, 2007 DoctorM rated it really liked it
A great political autobiography by an anarchist legend--- a Russian aristocrat turned anarchist theoretician whose life is just fascinating: palaces, military service, explorations in Siberia, scientific discoveries, radicalization, imprisonment, exile, escape, scientific and political controversies, wanderings. A brilliant read on so many grounds!
Pelin
Apr 22, 2012 Pelin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
En çok Kropotkin'in doğayla ilgili düşüncelerinden etkilenmiştim. Hatta bazı şeylerin kafama dank etmesini sağladığı için hayatımı değiştiren kitaplardan biri. Yine de bugüne kadar okuduğumu unutmuş olmam ilginç.
"İnsanın doğanın egemeni değil, onun sınırlı bir parçası olduğunu ve bu sınırlı parçada da doğa yasalarının geçerli olduğunu burada, Sibirya'da anladı Kropotkin. Bu nedenleydi ki, doğadaki uyum, sosyal dünyadaki uyumsuzluğu vurgulamakla kalmıyor, sanki onun düzenindeki anormalliği, ona y
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Nick Klagge
This book is the memoir of Peter Kropotkin, a man who was born into the Russian aristocracy but became an anarchist. As the introduction to the book makes clear, the title (chosen by an editor to move copies) is quite misleading--there are few moments of action in the book, and none at all of "revolution" in the Che Guevara mold. Indeed, PK's preferred title for the book was "Around One's Life," which pretty much captures the level of action in the book. (The one exception is his narrative of hi ...more
Becky
Sep 15, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing
Amazingly read on Librivox. I have to give a plug to one of my favorite volunteer narrators. She did a great job reading this.

I have a terrible lack of knowledge concerning Russian history. I've always found Russia fascinating, its architecture, its people, its isolationism, but somehow, I never get around to learning anything about it. Then I had the chance to help edit the audiobook for Memoirs of a Revolutionist and I jumped on the chance. I'm so glad I did.

Pyotr is a fascinating person. Its
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sage
This is a great portrait of Russia under late tsarist rule and parts of Europe in the earliest days of socialism. The first 3/4 are fairly riveting, while the ending falls kind of flat as happens in so many memoirs. Yes, it's the nature of the format. But he had a fascinating life and is a surprisingly engaging writer for having lived so long ago. There were several points where I wanted to hug him so much. And then others where I was really head-scratchy over his definition of Anarchism and how ...more
Nick
Jul 13, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
"A Kroptkin in Russia today would rebel against an even crueler regime; he would be arrested after a few days, not after several years; he would be treated far worse in prison, and he would find it far harder to escape; if he did manage to do so, he would not be able to travel freely across the world; if he went to Britain, he would be an undesirable alien rather than an honored guest; if he went to the United States he would not be let in at all; if he wrote what he believed, he would have diff ...more
Max
Jan 16, 2010 Max rated it really liked it
Shelves: anarchism
Kropotkin's life was a truly remarkable one, and while many of its events seem to strain belief, what really impresses one about this book is Kropotkin's kindness and generosity of spirit. Every page is filled with an unbelievable amount of love for and trust in humanity, and even when criticizing those who he has worked against, Kropotkin cannot summon the slightest hint of malice. While there are some dry passages to the book, the sheer uniqueness of Kropotkin's voice makes every page of it wo ...more
James Chin
Nov 16, 2011 James Chin is currently reading it
"the whole atmosphere of every prison is an atmosphere of glorification of that sort of gambling in 'clever strokes' which constitutes the very essence of theft, swindling, and all sorts of similar anti-social deeds. Whole generations of future criminals are bred in these burseries, which the state supports and which society tolerates, simply because it does not want to hear its own diseases spoken of . . . 'Imprisoned in childhood, jail bird for life,' is what I heard afterwards from all those ...more
Shea Mastison
Kropotkin was very much a man of his times; but he was something more too. It would be irresponsible for me to criticize his socialism--the man was an extraordinary figure, who utilized the momentum of his times in a fight against tyranny. Only time and real life occurrences could've shown the primacy of individualism in any well functioning social system: Kropotkin worked with what he had.
This was a pretty good book; showing the human (and quite likable) side of a legendary Russian revolutionar
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Ryan Mishap
Nov 14, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it liked it
I've only glanced through his famous works, but I read all of this because I prefer autobiographies and memoirs to political texts. The former Russian prince tells of his upbringing, his disillusionment with the way society was set up, his studies, and much more. Not the most gripping account of all time, but a fair way to pass the day if you're of the anarchist persuasion or have an interest that way. Good for getting a bit of the history of a time and place, too, as many autobiographies are.
Nithya Thiru
May 04, 2013 Nithya Thiru rated it really liked it
Kropotkin's autobiography offers fascinating insight into the anarchist and socialist movements of the mid to late 19 century. Kropotkin is an anarchist and does hold beliefs that most Americans do not. However, his compassion, intellect, and life experiences are extraordinary, and worth reading about if you are interested in political theory, or Russian history.
Sean Mccarrey
Mar 17, 2012 Sean Mccarrey rated it it was amazing
This book takes the reader from personal stories, to adventure, to political theory and more. I can't say enough good things about this book, so I won't even try. No matter what your political background is, this book is a fascinating look into the life of an anarchist in the nineteenth century of Europe.
Peter
Feb 17, 2008 Peter rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christian
Nov 16, 2013 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As exciting as any adventure novel could ever be and full of historical facts from the period when the socialistic movement grew large. Essential reading for anyone that is interested in Kropotkin, russian history or these kind of politics.
Tom Schulte
Jun 03, 2013 Tom Schulte rated it liked it
A wide-eyed observer of mid-19th Century Russia turns to science then socialism and then anarchism. An amazing autobiography, this is one of the most interesting overviews of a life I have ever read. The section on his escape from the Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul is positively riveting.
Mack
Jul 15, 2012 Mack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Illuminating on a period in time that was in many respects very alien to today. Kropotkien's memoir sadly does not always go into detail about all aspects of life. Even so the detail with which he charts the growth and development of himself makes this a wonderful, very human, read.
B. Jay
Jul 01, 2009 B. Jay rated it really liked it
If this were a piece of fiction, I'd accuse the author of straining believability. A great historical and unbiased autobiography of someone who probably never recieved enough credit for his works.
Anthony
Dec 18, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Gives a nicely written account of his life from his childhood, to his military service, to his imprisonment and escape. This man went through some serious shit.
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Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (Пётр Алексеевич Кропоткин) was a geographer, a zoologist, and one of Russia's foremost anarchists. One of the first advocates of anarchist communism, Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government. Because of his title of prince, he was known by some as "the Anarchist Prince". Some contemporaries saw him as leading a near perfect life, including O ...more
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“Sometimes he would advise me to read poetry, and would send me in his letters quantities of verses and whole poems, which he wrote from memory. 'Read poetry,' he wrote: 'poetry makes men better.' How often, in my later life, I realized the truth of this remark of his! Read poetry: it makes men better.” 42 likes
“Men passionately desire to live after death, but they often pass away without noticing the fact that the memory of a really good person always lives. It is impressed upon the next generation, and is transmitted again to the children. Is that not an immortality worth striving for? ” 32 likes
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