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Agents of the Revolution

Morgan, Kevin / Cohen, Gidon / Flinn, Andrew (eds.)

Agents of the Revolution

New Biographical Approaches to the History of International Communism in the Age of Lenin and Stalin

Year of Publication: 2005

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2005. 319 pp., 6 tables
ISBN 978-3-03910-075-0 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.460 kg, 1.014 lbs

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Book synopsis

Using Comintern archives, oral interviews and a wide range of other sources, this collection presents a sample of some of the exciting new work currently being produced in the field of communist biography. Geographically, the contributions take in North America and New Zealand as well as a range of European countries. Some chapters focus on individuals like Clara Zetkin, William Z. Foster, Umberto Terracini, William Gallacher or Jozsef Pogány. Others adopt a collective approach to explore communist cultures in rural Austria or the Netherlands, or the impact of institutions like the International Lenin School. There are also chapters on communist institutional biographies, the role of general secretaries and the significance of generations and family links.


Contents: Claude Pennetier/Bernard Pudal: Communist Prosopography in France: Research in Progress based on French Institutional Communist Autobiographies – Gidon Cohen/Andrew Flinn: In Search of the Typical British Communist – Thomas Sakmyster: A Hungarian in the Comintern: Jozsef Pogány/John Pepper – Jean Vigreux/Serge Wolikow: General Secretariat and General Secretaries: The Case of the French Communist Party – Tânia Ünlüdag-Puschnerat: A German Communist: Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) – James R. Barrett: Revolution and Personal Crisis: Communist Politics and Personal Narrative in the Life of William Z. Foster – Andrew Thorpe: Communist MP: Willie Gallacher and British Communism – Aldo Agosti: A Communist of a Special Mould: Umberto Terracini’s Opposition to the Cominform Turn in 1947 – Kevin Morgan: A Family Party? Some Geneaological Reflections on the CPGB – Wolfgang Weber: Every Family a Red Fortress? Geneaological Aspects of Communist Biographies in Austria – Gerrit Voerman: The Formative Years of the Communist ‘Moral Community’ in the Netherlands 1917-30 – Pirjo Kaihovaara: A Good Comrade, a Good Cadre: Autobiographies and Evaluation Reports as a Part of Cadre Policy in the Finnish Communist Party During the 1940s and 1950s – Kerry Taylor: Kiwi Comrades: The Social Basis of New Zealand Communism, 1921-48 – Joni Krekola: The Finnish Sector at the International Lenin School.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Kevin Morgan teaches at the University of Manchester. The first two volumes of his Bolshevism and the British Left are to be published in 2005.
Gidon Cohen teaches politics at the University of Northumbria and researches left-wing political activism and the use of computers in historical research.
Andrew Flinn teaches at University College London and works on the participation of youth and minority groups within political parties.
The editors’ prosopographical study Communists in British Society 1920-91 is forthcoming.


«Alles in allem ist das Buch ein wichtiger Impuls für eine innovative Kommunismusforschung, die sich in jüngster Zeit verstärkt biografischen Fragestellungen zuwendet und dadurch mit neuen Erkenntnissen aufwarten kann.» (Verena Moritz, Der Donauraum)