John Reed (journalist)

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John Silas "Jack" Reed (October 22, 1887 – October 17, 1920) was an American journalist, poet, and socialist activist, best remembered for Ten Days That Shook the World, his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution.


Ten Days that Shook the World[edit]

Ten Days that Shook the World. 2006 Dover Press edition.

A native of Oregon, John Reed made New York City the base of his operations.
Armed soldiers carry a banner reading 'Communism', Nikolskaya street, Moscow, October 1917
  • This book is a slice of intensified history - history as I saw it. It does not pretend to be anything but a detailed account of the November Revolution, when the Bolsheviki, at the head of the workers and soldiers, seized the sate power of Russia and placed it in the hands of the Soviets.
    • Preface, opening
  • Instead of being a destructive force, it seems tome that the Bolsheviki were the only party in Russia with a constructive program and the power to impose it on the country. If they had not succeeded to the Government when they did, there is little doubt in my mind that the armies of Imperial Germany would have been in Petrograd and Moscow in December, and Russia would again be ridden by a Tsar.
    • Preface
  • No matter what one thinks of Bolshevism, it is undeniable that the Russian Revolution s one of the great events of human history, and the rise of the Bolsheviki a phenomenon of worldwide importance.
    • Preface
  • In the struggle my sympathies were not neutral. But in telling the story of those great day I have tried to see events with the eye of a conscientious reporter, interested insetting down the truth.
    • Preface
  • So, with the crash of artillery, in the dark, with hatred, and fear, and reckless daring, new Russia was being born.
  • I suddenly realized 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….
  • Carlyle, in his French Revolution, has described the French people as distinguished above all others by their faculty of standing in queue. Russia had accustomed herself to the practice, begun in the reign of Nicholas the Blessed as long ago as 1915, and from then continued intermittently until the summer of 1917, when it settled down as the regular order of things.
  • The ladies of the minor bureaucratic set took tea with each other in the afternoon, carrying each her little gold or silver or jewelled sugar-box, and half a loaf of bread in her muff, and wished that the Tsar were back, or that the Germans would come, or anything that would solve the servant problem…. The daughter of a friend of mine came home one afternoon in hysterics because the woman street-car conductor had called her "Comrade!
  • A soldier was speaking - from the Five Hundred and Forty-eight Division, wherever and whatever that was: "Comrades," he cried, and there was real anguish in his drawn face and despairing gestures. "The people at the top are always calling upon us to sacrifice more, sacrifice, while those who have everything are left unmolested. We are at war with Germany. Would we invite German generals to serve on our Staff? Well we're at war with the capitalists too, and yet we invite them into our Government..."
    • Ch. 1, p. 19
  • When the land belongs to the peasants, and the factories to the workers, and the power to the Soviets, then we'll know we have something to fight for, and we'll fight for it!"
  • Ch.1, p.19

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