No Less Than Mystic: A History of Lenin and the Russian Revolution for a 21st-Century Left


Published in the centenary year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, No Less Than Mystic is a fresh and iconoclastic history of Lenin and the Bolsheviks for a generation uninterested in Cold War ideologies and stereotypes.


Although it offers a full and complete history of Leninism, 1917, the Russian Civil War and its aftermath, the book devotes more time than usual to the policies and actions of the socialist alternatives to Bolshevism – to the Menshevik Internationalists, the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), the Jewish Bundists and the anarchists. It prioritises Factory Committees, local Soviets, the Womens’ Zhenotdel movement, Proletkult and the Kronstadt sailors as much as the statements and actions of Lenin and Trotsky. Using the neglected writings and memoirs of Mensheviks like Julius Martov, SRs like Victor Chernov, Bolshevik oppositionists like Alexandra Kollontai and anarchists like Nestor Makhno, it traces a revolution gone wrong and suggests how it might have produced a more libertarian, emancipatory socialism than that created by Lenin and the Bolsheviks.


We do not need another standard history of the Russian Revolution. This is not one.

Categories: ,


    "The book is very comprehensive and insightful, and linked in perceptive ways to current affairs."

    Noam Chomsky

    "A stunning work of synthetic scholarship which addresses one of the great historical questions of the modern epoch."

    Jeremy Gilbert

    "Essential reading for all socialists."

    Eric Lee, editor of Labour Start and author of The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921

    "This is a big, energetic, ambitious book that deserves every success. A hell of a performance."

    Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine

    "Stands out for its range and critical force."

    Capital & Class