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REVIEWS 347 Tsereteliand hissupporters drifted into the shadowswhile Kerensky and Tereschenko, hopingfor an earlyAllied victory,attemptedto bind Russiatogetherwith rhetoric.With the Bolsheviks in the wingsthiswasimpossible; in NovemberLenin tookonhimselftheterribletaskof extricatingRussiafrom the war. The prediction of I.P. Goldenberg hadcometrue: 'The revolution will kill the war or the war will kill the revolution.'With the adventof Lenin, both war andrevolution entered newphases of development. The Russian Search[or Peaceis a veryimpressive work which,throughthe carefulstudyof widelyscattered sources, seeks to reinterpretthe first phaseof theRussian Revolution. In hispreface Professor Wadesuggests 'that theRussian Revolution isbeststudied andunderstood byconcentrating onthemoderates ....' Insteadof askingthe question 'howthe Bolsheviks seized power,'he asks'why the moderateslost it.' His work showsjust how fruitful this approachhas been. It is a welcome addition to the studies of historians such as Alexander RabinowitchandRobertV. Danielswhose carefulresearch hasrecentlyenlarged ourunderstanding of theevents of 1917in Russia. RICHARD K. DEBO SimonFraserUniversity A SentimentalJourney:Memoirs•9•7-•9•. vt•croRsIe•O.ovs•cv. Translated fromtheRussian bymcIeaXo sIe•.•.I)ON with a historical introduction by sII)N•.v •toN•,s.Ithaca andLondon,CornellUniversityPress, I97O.Pp.xlviii, 3o4,map, illus.$io.oo(us). Our OwnPeople: A Memoiro[ 'lgnaceReiss' andhisFriends. EnIS•a•.rH•c. •,om•rs•c-z. London,Toronto,Melbourne,Oxford UniversityPress, I969. Pp. x, •78. $6.75. Thesetwomemoirs ofRussia since 1917arequitedissimilar, andyetbothproject animageofhistory thatisat oncepersuasive andincredible. In thecase of Shklovsky thiseffectisdeliberate artifice.Bornin Petersburg in I893 (andstillalivein I97O), hebecame a part of the literaryavant-garde of pre-revolutionary Russia. Hisapproach torealitysomewhat resembles theexperimentaltechniques of suchcontemporary paintersas Iiandinsky.Traditional representational technique is dissolved into the juxtaposition of disconnected forms.Shklovsky doesnot carrythisto thepointof inventinga new language, but rathermixesin all kindsof thoughts andepisodes that cameto him during andaftertherevolution. For example, he reportsthat in thefall of 1918it was rumoured in south Russia thattheBritish hadlandeda militaryforceof trained apes in Baku. WhenBakuwastakenoneof these apes waskilled,andit wasburiedwith a band playingScottish militarymusicandtheScots cried. That'sbecause theinstructors of the apelegions wereScottish. A somber draftwasblowing outofRussia. The somber spotcalledRussia wasgrowing. 'The sickbeauty'wasdelirious. 348 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Peoplewereheadingfor Constantinople. If I don't tell it here,thenwhereelsecan I tell this fact? When I had first arrivedin Kiev, I stoppedin to seea manufacturer.He wasin tobacco- youcouldcall him a tobaccomagnate. And soon,concerning Shklovsky's daysasanarmoured carinstructor duringthe FebruaryRevolution,a military commissar of the Provisional government in Galiciaand Persia,thenasa wandererin variouspartsof Russia, workingwith Gorkyfor a timeandfinallyfleeingtoFinland.At some pointstheworkisrepetitious ,andonedoesn't knowwhetherthisispooreditingor a literarydevice. There seems to be an intended lesson in this for the historian as well as the writer. The 'great events'in which Shklovsky 'participated'seemto him in retrospect chaotic,meaningless, and anti-human.He has little sympathywith Bolshevik pretense thattheycanimpose an orderonhistory andpresumably has aslittle sympathy for professional historians whotry to explainbroadpatterns. I suppose that thereissomething to be saidfor thisperspective, but onecannot expect it tocontribute anything substantive to theworkof theprofessional historian ,excepting anecdotes. The memoirbyElisabeth K. Poretsky is,in contrast, straight-forward andnot particularly imaginative. Shewasbornin Galiciaand marrieda man of her hometown, a Pole,whobecame a Communist andjoinedtheintelligence service of thenewSovietstate.He served in Moscowandin various European citiesasa fairlysenior operative, eventually breaking with theStalinized party.In •937he wasmurdered whilea fugitivein Switzerland andwasofficially buriedwith the pseudonym of'Ignace Reiss,' although hisrealnamewasLudwikPoretsky. Here isanauthentic memoirofthecloakanddagger world,yetit evokes an atmosphere that isutterlyalien to that of a JamesBondnovelor eventhereallife of Richard Sorge.It ispopulated byordinarybourgeois Poles, for all of thePoretsky's close friendsofyouthwoundup in theSovietservice andkeptin touch.Noneof them arehistorical figures of anynote,andit isnoteasyto keepthemstraight,despite thememoirist's attempts at describing theirpersonalities, appearances, andgenerallyunsensational maritalaffairs.The netimpression isthattheymightjustas wellhavebeensalesmen for aninternational company, sometimes workingin the homeoffice,sometimes beingshunted with wife and progeny aroundto various branches. When the travellingrepresentative comeshome for a stay,his old friendsmeethim,theydrinkandexchange gossip. It isa veryhumanandbanal pictureoftheSoviet clandestine agencies underStalin,andratherunexpected. Onedoesn't learna greatdealfromall thisaboutthehighpolicyorpolitics of the•Js sR,butit provides anexceptionally clearconfirmation of theconcept ofthe Stalinterrorthat hasseemed mostpersuasive to me: that it had the effectof destroying thenormalrelations of mutualtrustthatpeopleplacein theirfriends, disorienting thewholepatternof routinesocial communication andinterposing the regimein itsplace.The friendsof Elisabeth Poretsky wereintelligentCommunists all, andall butsheeventually werevictimsof Stalin.In theirlastmonths theyseem tohaveunderstood thisinterpretation of theterrorquiteclearly. Neither of thesememoirsof fairly obscure persons is likely to have much REVIEWS 349 impactontheunderstanding of Russian history, but bothareunusualandwell worthreading,especially for thecollector of anecdotes. ROBERT...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 347-349
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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