Jewish and Russian Revolutionaries Exiled to Siberia (1901-1917)

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This scholarly yet highly readable work offers two unique autobiographical perspectives on the early days of the Russian revolution, heretofore unavailable to the English-speaking world. The first perspective, an individual Jewish revolutionary from Byelorussia politically exiled to Siberia, is Desind's contemporary translation from the Yiddish of a prize-winning autobiography by Israel Pressman written in the 1940's, recalling the first decade of this century. The second perspective is that of the Izmailovich sisters, daughters of a high ranking military family. Their story represents not only a divergent approach to the revolution, but also the significant role played by women in fighting Russian autocracy. The material is based on Russian documents and supplemented by several English sources. The two individual accounts are explicated and impressively enriched by pertinent notes and essays which provide the historical and sociological framework for the lives portrayed in the two dramas. Includes rare photographs.


"Desind's book is an attempt to combine a primary source in translation and a historical narrative under a single cover, supplemented by supporting materials in the notes. The volume is therefore of particular value for readers interested in Russian revolutionary history who lack an adequate command of the Russian language to allow them to use primary sources. . . . Desind's translation of the autobiography of Israel Pressman . . . is the only English translation of the work and thus introduces a valuable new source depicting the emergence of a radical from the traditional Jewish milieu. . . . The reader is also indebted to Desind for his thoughtful and accurate translation and his capable editorial efforts. He has been able to obtain a number of new and interesting photographs from private collections and compiled a useful bibliography of works in English. . . . will be appreciated especially by nonspecialist interested in Jewish radicalism and Russian revolutionary history in general." - The Russian Review

Desind has made a contribution to the literature on the revolutionary movement. A participant's memoir is the voice of authenticity, complementing historical monographs. The book is filled with ample footnotes and many brief commentaries on aspects of Russian-Jewish life and history." - Shofar

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