The Foreigner in the Kremlin Wall

John Reed enjoyed an extraordinary level of popularity amongst the Bolsheviks, and his Ten days that shook the world was published in Russian in the 1920s.  The copy we show here is the 1927 version, translated by Aleksandr Romm.  In his preface, Lenin states his desire to see the book translated into all languages and printed in millions of copies.  The preface was written in 1920 and is signed “N. Lenin”, an occasional pseudonym.  Born Vladimir Il’ich Ul’ianov, Lenin became more commonly know as Vladimir Il’ich Lenin.

Lenin’s preface is followed by one by his wife, the politician and educationalist Nadezhda Krupskaia.  She sees the importance of Reed’s account for the present but also the future, for “those for whom the October Revolution will be part of history”.  By the time of Krupskaia’s preface, Reed was dead.  He had died of typhus in Russia, and the book includes a picture of his memorial, by the wall of the Kremlin.  Ten days that shook the world includes a description of a mass grave in Red Square for those who died fighting.  Krupskaia ends her preface with reference to this, saying “he who has described the burial of the victims of the revolution as John Reed did is worthy of the honour of a Kremlin Wall burial”.

10 dnei, kotorye potriasli mir / Dzhon Rid.  ([Moskva] : Gos. Izd-vo, 1927.).  586:9.c.90.64