by J.P. Nettl
Oxford University Press, 984 pp., $20.20
By the standards of vulgar Hegelians, such as E. H. Carr, this book should never have been written. Hegelians are concerned with the history of those movements and persons that have been historically successful and in tune with the Zeitgeist. Rosa Luxemburg’s political life (1871-1919) is the record of a magnificent quixotic failure. Luckily not all British historians, even on the Left, share Carr’s worship of the bitch-Goddess success, and so we owe to J. P. Netts a monumental biography of the great revolutionary socialist.
Though Rosa Luxemburg’s name has loomed large in the historical imagination of the socialist movement ever since her brutal assassination by counterrevolutionary soldiers after the Berlin Spartakist rising in January 1919, no satisfactory biography has been available up til...
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