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The contentious Third Comintern Congress: Library edition now available

June 21, 2015

To the Masses Brill coverThe 1921 Third Congress of the Communist International, the most contentious and perhaps also the most creative of early-20th century global revolutionary gatherings, is now available in a 1,300-page library edition. A paperback version will appear in February 2016; prepublication orders for it will be taken in July at a 30% discount.

To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921, completes the publication of the four Comintern congresses held in Lenin’s time, carried out under my editorship.

I’ve prepared a Library Acquisition Recommendation that you can fill out online and then email or hand in to your library.

Here is some information on the new book. You’re always welcome to comment on my blog at– John Riddell

To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921, John Riddell, ed., 1299 pp.

  • Brill Academic Publisher: ISBN 9789004288027, hardback, €399 or US$517 (available now; see attached library recommendation form).
  • Haymarket Books: ISBN 9781608465859, paperback, US$55 (prepublication orders accepted July 2016 month at a 30% discount).

Specialists’ appraisals

“Congratulations … for a volume that will fascinate anyone interested not only in the history, but also in the human feel and continuing relevance of the great revolutionary era—a volume that will rapidly become an oft- quoted and oft-analyzed standard source.” – Lars T. Lih, author of Lenin Rediscovered.

“A precious gift for serious scholars and activists, bringing to life the voices and experiences of innumerable revolutionaries reaching for a better world in the early twentieth century.” – Paul Le Blanc, author of Lenin: Revolution, Democracy, Socialism.

“The Third Congress of the Comintern marks a particularly contested moment of revolutionary history, ripe with lessons of both successes and egregious errors. Thank you, John Riddell, for this remarkable accomplishment, and for inviting a new generation of scholar-activists to join the conversation.” – Abigail B. Bakan, University of Toronto

“[A] monumental retrieval of the socialist internationalism that emerged from the Russian Revolution…. A contribution that no historian of the period can ignore.” – Greg Albo, Dept. of Political Science, York University.

“The outstanding analysis with which Riddell opens the work and a rigorous scientific apparatus make this a reference work for understanding a turning point of the Communist International and the young Soviet republic.” – Jean-François Fayet, author of Karl Radek (1885-1939)

No historian, from whatever point on the spectrum, will be able to discuss the early years of communism without reference to these volumes, and no serious library can be without them.” – Ian Birchall, writing for Revolutionary History.

With To the Masses … we hear the voices of a movement of ordinary people trying to do the extraordinary – build a new world. This is an invaluable resource. – Paul Kellogg, Associate Professor, Athabasca University

What ‘To the Masses’ offers:

Debates at world Communism’s 1921 congress reveal Lenin’s International at a moment of crisis. A policy of confrontational initiatives by a resolute minority contends with the perspective of winning majority working-class support on the road to the revolutionary conquest of power.

A frank debate among many currents concludes with a classic formulation of Communist strategy and tactics. Thirty-two appendices – many never-before-published in any language – portray delegates’ behind-the-scenes exchanges.

This newly translated treasure of 1,000 pages of source material, available for the first time in English, is supplemented by an analytic introduction, detailed footnotes, a glossary with 430 biographical entries, a chronology, and an index. The final instalment of a 4,500-page series on Communist congresses in Lenin’s time.


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