Unforgiving Years

In the course of reviewing the memoirs of N.N. Sukhanov – the man who famously
called Stalin a ‘gray blur’ – Dwight Macdonald gave a serviceable description of
the two types of radical witnesses to the Russian Revolution: ‘Trotsky’s is a bird’seye
view – a revolutionary eagle soaring on the wings of Marx and History – but
Sukhanov gives us a series of close-ups, hopping about St. Petersburg like an earthbound
sparrow – curious, intimate, sharp-eyed.’ If one were to genetically fuse these
two avian observers into one that took flight slightly after the Bolshevik seizure of
power, the result would be Victor Serge.

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