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Ten Days that Shook the World

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  4,536 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Paperback, Value edition, 400 pages
Published September 8th 2006 by Dover Publications (first published 1919)
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Darcy Robinson This is a a true bolshevik thought of this account (end of debate):

With the greatest interest and with never slackening attention I read John Reed’s…more
This is a a true bolshevik thought of this account (end of debate):

With the greatest interest and with never slackening attention I read John Reed’s book, Ten Days that Shook the World. Unreservedly do I recommend it to the workers of the world. Here is a book which I should like to see published in millions of copies and translated into all languages. It gives a truthful and most vivid exposition of the events so significant to the comprehension of what really is the Proletarian Revolution and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. These problems are widely discussed, but before one can accept or reject these ideas, he must understand the full significance of his decision. John Reed’s book will undoubtedly help to clear this question, which is the fundamental problem of the international labor movement.

End of 1919.(less)

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Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I just finished this one, after meaning to check it out since college.

Sometimes you know a book is great even if you yourself have a hard time reading it. That was the case for me in the very well written and detailed personal account of the October Revolution in Russia, as experienced by American reporter and Communist sympathizer, Jack Reed.

The excellent movie Reds is based in large part on the accounts in this book. (Warren Beauty producing, directing, writing, and starring as the author,
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
Due to the various political parties that John Reed speaks of in his impassioned account of the Russian Revolution, it becomes somewhat difficult to follow the flow of events and their importance. An understanding of the struggle at hand in this tumultuous period really only requires the knowledge of two warring factions; the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), and the "Whites" (anti-Bolsheviks). Basically the absolute monarchy of Tsar Nicholas II had come to an end due to severe social and political unrest on ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: bbc radio listeners

Description: John Reed's vivid eye-witness account of his time in Petrograd was written in early 1918 and published in the USA the following year. It was an instant best-seller, so much so that in Russia it was some years before Stalin - who is only mentioned twice in the book - felt he could ban it for its portrayal of Trotsky. Possibly naïve, definitely politically one-sided, nevertheless the veracity and impact of Reed's enthusiastic snapshot-style
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is simultaneously a difficult read and a pageturner - a firsthand account of the Bolshevik Revolution from an American observer, dense with details but also providing a historically priceless perspective of one of the most important events of the 20th century. Reed offer details of the factional fighting that took place during the revolution (this is a lot of the book) and the mistakes and unintended consequences that helped generate the final result. This was of less value in my opinion ...more
From BBC Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama:
John Reed's classic eye-witness account of the Russian Revolution in October 1917.
Dramatised by Robin Brooks

Episode 1: The Coming Storm
Autumn 1917 and Petrograd under the Provisional Government is in chaos. American journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant arrive to find the tension between factions is palpable and it's only a matter of time before the situation explodes. But in which direction?

Episode 2: On the Eve
The confusion in Petrograd continues as the
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
It's not everyday you get to witness a major turning point in history first hand as John Reed did in November 1917. For that reason, combined with the facts that (1) he was American, (2) he had a pencil and paper available, and (3) he knew how to write, this work is something close to a must read. It's close to a must read, rather than a definitive must read, because Reed's prose lags. He did manage, however, to give a sense for a tremendous instant of anarchy that lasted for the briefest of ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
American journalist and socialist John Reed wrote about Russia's 1917 October Revolution presenting a first hand account of all the events whilst being on assignment for a socialist politics magazine called The Masses, however due to this magazine's forced closure another magazine The Liberator published his articles.
Reed was able to interact with Bolshevik leaders and got much information from officials apart from his experiences and was therefore able to present his account both dramatically
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie
Shelves: audiobooks, bbc, 2017
9 OCT 2017 - a recommendation through Bettie. Many Thanks.

Give a listen here -

23 OCT 2017 - a very good listen-to.
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
John Reed, a young socialist from Portland, Oregon, went to Russia in 1917 as a journalist to report on the unfolding revolution. Russia was in great turmoil, with widespread opposition to the war, a struggling economy, and shortages of basic necessities. The government was barely in control of the situation, and political influence was fractured among many political parties ranging from the far-right to the communist left. Reed was a revolutionist, and so supported the position of the ...more
Hajir Almahdi
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
4.6 stars
Ten Days that Shocked the World talks about American journalist and socialist John Reed experience in Russia during October revolution and Bolsheviks seizer of power ( Bolshevik literally means "one of the majority", derived from Russian ) in 1917, Russia. Even though i'm familiar with the Bolshevik revolution and its events, Reed's narrative writing captured the country's situation during a hard time vividly, it was informative with quotations from newspapers, documents, eyewitnesses
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The classic account of the October Bolshevik revolution that was supported mainly by the urban working classes and the large mass of sympathetic sailors and soldiers who were fed up with war and wanted peace. Even though a politically one sided work, John Reed wrote with enthusiasm and passion showing the events that took place mainly in Petrograd during the fateful days.
Oct 14, 2012 marked it as not-finished-to-read-maybe-someday  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-usa
Dopo circa 100 pagine mi arrendo. Ne avevo sentito parlare benissimo, come uno dei migliori libri sulla rivoluzione russa, ma non riesce a coinvolgermi. Ci sono troppi dettagli, troppi nomi di leader di partito, troppi partiti e comitati e sindacati...c'è troppo e ci si perde nei minuziosi dettagli. Inoltre, in quei giorni le vicende cambiavano da un giorno all'altro, c'erano alleanze, poi rotture, nuove alleanze, e non riesco a star dietro a tutto. È molto giornalistico, un po' troppo per i ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
1917 in Red Petrograd and the revolution is reaching boiling point; soon civil war will erupt and comrade will kill comrade. There is a naive hope and joy at the heart of this account, enough to almost melt my cynical old heart. Almost. The best parts are when Reed leaves the endless debates and decrees of Smolny and gets down among the workers and peasants of Moscow. Yet in hindsight, a lot of this seems misplaced. The prose is ungainly, even ugly in places, but it is the interminable rhetoric ...more
Adam Windsor
Reed reportedly wrote this in ten straight days, and it shows: it's very much a stream of consciousness, liberally stuffed with unwieldy verbatim quotations from pamphlets and speeches of the era, and festooned with ellipses to the point of there being four or five "..."s on many pages.

It's an interesting read as a personal (and unreservedly biased) account of the Bolshevik rise to power, but if you want a more readable, more coherent and more structured account, I'd recommend "Six Red Months in
Perry Whitford
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that the dust has settled on the Soviet Union (though not, alas, on Russian expansionism) I think the status of the October Revolution of 1917 as the most extraordinary event of the 20th century has probably if anything been enhanced.

How in the name of Sergei Eisenstein did a small group of revolutionaries representing solely the needs of the proletariat where the population consisted of 80% peasantry and all the real power lay in the hands of the aristocracy gain the upper hand with barely

I was planning on reading this during the week of the 100th anniversary but I couldn't help myself.

A bit biased? Sure.

Bonus material:
October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1928)
The End of St. Petersburg (1927)
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Ten Days that Shook the World is a compendium of eye-witness reporting and translated (except for some illustrations) source materials from this pivotal point in the Russian Revolution. The book was penned by John Reed, a socialist journalist from the United States, who was the subject of the Warren Beatty movie, Reds.

One must confess that this book wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be from the cover illustration. Said cover illustration on my aging copy had two revolutionaries with rifles in
Rodney Harvill
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In 1917, there were two revolutions in Russia. The first, in March (March by the Gregorian calendar, February by the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time), toppled the Tsar and established a provisional government under social democrat principles. The second, in November (Gregorian calendar), toppled the provisional government and set up a communist dictatorship under Vladimir Ulyanov’s (Lenin) Bolsheviks. This book is an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik revolution written by an ...more
I gave this a go after the Arabist noted that no one had yet to write the 'Ten Days that Shook the World' of the Arab Spring: I'm not sorry I read the book, byzantine, unfocused, and sentimental though it was.

Reed was clearly immersed in the history of all the players as the October Revolution came to a head- he jumps in midstream and gleefully recounts the intrigues of Bolsheviki, Mensheviki, Mensheviki Internationalists, Cadets, Left Socialist
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can't say this was an easy read (unlike other works that focus more on the execution of the Czar and his family), but it is probably the most comprehensible and concise volume on the Bolshevik coup - a very complicated event. Of course, for a casual reader like myself I was still a little overwhelmed with a plethora of Russian names and various left/right political groups and factions representing everything from the elite armed forces to peasants groups. This is not to say there were not ...more
Jean-François Tremblay
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very interesting, dense, complicated book. Trying to remember the names of all the councils, groups, parties, etc, is a bit of a chore.

But it is an important book, that helps understand what happened in Russia in that time period. And it is now a classic.

But... be aware that this is very one-sided. I knew it would be, but it is almost funny sometimes how much of a propaganda tool this book is.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lenin himself gave this book a good review and I think that says enough. Very informative and beautiful.
Darran Mclaughlin
A stunningly vivid ground level account of the October Revolution. John Reed, an American reporter who sympathized with the the Revolution, puts himself into all sorts of incredibly dangerous situations in order to get the story. This is journalism at its best and most courageous. Reed moves between battlegrounds and taverns, government offices and meeting halls to report on what has been called the most significant historical event of the 20th Century. You hear a polyphony of voices from ...more
Leo H
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very difficult book to review for several reasons, a.) there's so much going on in it, b.) it's a history book, so the criteria are a bit vague, is it good if it's engaging? Detailed? Historically accurate? and c.) this is an overt piece of Soviet propaganda, Reed was an out and out supporter of the Bolsheviks, he's buried in Red Square and the book has a forward written by Vladimir Lenin. Like, the actual Lenin. So we need to understand 'Ten Days that Shook the World' not only as a document ...more
Joe Strnad
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Reed actually lived through the Russian Revolution of 1917 in St. Petersburg so he knows what he's talking about. However, he was a member of the American Communist Party and this leads to a very biased view of events. He favors the Bolshevik; the book borders on propaganda as opposed to objective journalism. This being said, it is still a more nuanced view than official Soviet Party history. The reader gets a good sense of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the events of November 1917: ...more
A vivid read, which captures the confused and confusing nature of a country in the grip of a revolution that was to change the world. However, this is very clearly a one-sided account of events - Reed wears his Bolshevik sympathies on his sleeve and makes little effort to distinguish between the countless fracturing opposition factions, which leaves the reader somewhat bemused at times. I also found his style of writing somewhat irritating, and unless the reader has some knowledge of Russia ...more
Peter Hoff
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This eyewitness account of the Bolshevik October Revolution reads like a set of faculty senate minutes occasionally punctuated by machine-gun fire. It is a blend of narration and extensive quotation from documents of the moment. As such, it does not read very well, but is a valuable "in the moment" description of the revolution by an American Journalist who was granted intimate access to the Bolshevik inner circles.
Karlo Mikhail
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Passes as an important historical account. But all too often falls to sensationalism (makes up some stuff to make events more dramatic) and hagiography (thinks that Lenin and Trotsky are Gods in human flesh). I liked the Soviet-illustrated comics "Introducing the Russian Revolution" or Rius' "Lenin for Beginners" better. Great appendix though.
Sara Kearns
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another one i have to re-read, and am super-excited to do so. it blew me away the first time, and i expect it will again. 'highly recommended. and i'd also recommend the film made about the book's author and his wife, "reds," with diane keaton, warren beatty, and jack nicholson. it's one of my favorites.
Thom Dunn

The movie Reds, loathed by many, is valuable for having both Jerzy Kosinski and Henry Miller in speaking parts, Kosinski as Trotsky, Miller as himself opining: "I think there was just as much fucking going on then as there is now..."
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Silas Reed, often referred to by his nickname, Jack, was an American journalist, poet & communist activist, remembered for his 1st-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days that Shook the World. He was the 1st husband of the writer & feminist Louise Bryant.
“So, with the crash of artillery, in the dark, with hatred, and fear, and reckless daring, new Russia was being born.” 3 likes
“I suddenly realised that the devout Russian people no longer needed priests to pray them into heaven. On earth they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer, and for which it was a glory to die….” 3 likes
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