In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of "direct action"óworkers' control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society.
Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to present a picture of the philosophers, bomb throwers, peasants and soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of "Mother Russia." Including the influence and ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, the armed uprisings of Makhno, the activities of Volin, Maximoff, and the attempted aid of Berkman and Emma Goldman.
"It combines exact scholarship with imaginative insight, intellectual grasp and readability. The author has a flair for concrete instance that makes the milieu which he describes alive and he conveys not only what people said and did but also what they meant and felt."óTimes Literary Supplement
The late Paul Avrich was professor of history at Queens College, New York City.