Title: The Women’s Revolution
Author: Judy Cox
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publisher Blurb: The dominant view of the Russian Revolution of 1917 is of a movement led by prominent men like Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Despite the demonstrations of female workers for ‘bread and herrings’, which sparked the February Revolution, in most historical accounts of this momentous period, women are too often relegated to the footnotes. Judy Cox argues that women were essential to the success of the revolution and to the development of the Bolshevik Party.
A thousand years ago, in a place barely remembered, my pursuit of a history degree involved picking electives about places I didn’t know. Thus Russia, one quarter with a paper on the October 1917 Revolution led by golden boy Alexander Kerensky. In addition to the text, A History of Russia by Nicholas Valentine Riasanovsky, I read Robert K. Massie‘s biography of Peter the Great. Having learned a little about the Streltsy, revolutions, and communism, I moved on.
I was not yet in my search for the women in history phase. Nor was my curiosity that hungry. Working and studying probably had something to do with that. After graduating, I did come across Catherine the Great, also by Robert K. Massie, and found Bertrand M. Patenaude‘s Trotsky: Downfall Of A Revolutionary, about Trotsky’s years in Mexico. Names I’d heard in other readings, names I knew little about.
My search for identity leads me to delve into feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Along with my history degree, this brings a strain of “where are the women?” into my reading.
A book sale gives me The Women’s Revolution by Judy Cox. This slender book works as supplemental material to Russian histories, but cannot be considered a primary history book.
A brief summary of women in revolutionary history during the years 1905 – 1917 begins the book. The second part of the book is a list with brief biographies of the women mentioned in part 1. The Women’s Revolution stands as an addition to Russian studies, adding a list of women overshadowed by their more famous male counterparts to investigate. I think of it more as a type of bibliography than anything.