Memoirs of a Revolutionist (Dover Books on History, Political and Social Science)
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In this autobiography, Kropotkin recounts his early life in the royal court and his military service in Siberia, along with his imprisonment, escape, and European exile. His portraits of nineteenth-century Russian life rival those of the great novelists, ranging from moving examples of the unbridgeable chasm between nobles and serfs to gripping scenes of midnight plots enacted outside the Kremlin’s walls. An eminent geographer and cartographer, Kropotkin also offers fascinating views from his explorations of Siberia. An Introduction and explanatory notes enhance this unabridged edition of a thrilling real-life story of idealism and adventure.
ashamed of his rôle; but he seemed to add, ‘I am a soldier, and only do my duty.’ Presently we got into the carriage again, but soon stopped before another gate, where we were kept a long time until a detachment of soldiers opened it from the inside. Proceeding on foot through narrow passages, we came to a third iron gate, opening into a dark arched passage, from which we entered a small room where darkness and dampness prevailed. Several non-commissioned officers of the fortress troops moved
bright young men, also mostly watchmakers — all very independent and affectionate, very lively, and ready to go to any length in self-sacrifice. Several refugees of the Paris Commune had joined the federation. Elisée Reclus, the great geographer, was of their number — a type of the true Puritan in his manner of life, and of the French encyclopædist philosopher of the last century in his mind; the man who inspires others, but never has governed anyone, and never will do so; the anarchist whose
the building. Quite a life goes on, as in a beehive, between the seemingly isolated cells; only that life often takes such a character as to make it belong entirely to the domain of psychopathy. Kraft-Ebbing himself had no idea of the aspects it takes with certain prisoners in solitary confinement. I will not repeat here what I have said in a book, ‘In Russian and French Prisons,’ which I published in England in 1886, soon after my release from Clairvaux, upon the moral influence of prisoners
in the class-rooms — and, according to our rules of propriety, Ganz had merely to send the two boys away; but he inscribed them in the journal, and they were severely punished. That was the last drop. We decided to give him a ‘benefit night.’ That meant that one day all the form, provided with rulers borrowed from the upper forms, would start an outrageous noise by striking the rulers against the tables, and send the teacher out of the class. However, the plot offered many difficulties. We had in
occupied. But we also had to study in the domain of humanitarian science, history, law (that is, the main outlines of the Russian Code), and political economy in its essential leading principles, including a course of comparative statistics; and we had to master formidable courses of military sciences: tactics, military history (the campaigns of 1812 and 1815 in all their details), artillery, and field fortification. Looking now back upon this education I think that apart from the subjects