R. W. Postgate

Book Review

Miss Pankhurst and Russia

Source: The Communist, December 10 1921.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Soviet Russia as I saw it in 1920.
By Sylvia Pankhurst.
2s. 6d.
Workers’ Dreadnought.

THIS book is not a book of the character of, say, Brailsford’s The Russian Republic or even George Lansbury’s What I saw in Russia. It rather suggests companion with J. S. Clarke’s Pen Pictures of Russia which W. Paul reviewed recently in the COMMUNIST. It is, that is to say, a series of sketches, of would-be vivid pictures of life in Russia to-day. It does not deal with the social revolution or its effects: it gives no serious analysis of the condition of Soviet Russia and its meaning to us.

It has to be judged, therefore, not as a serious contribution to the study of Russia, but as a book for light reading. In this category it falls below Clarke’s book. Clarke at least has a style (to me, an annoying, a florid and pretentious style) but Miss Pankhurst has modelled herself upon the writers of novelettes. Her incapability in the use of words has prevented her writing a good book. No vivid pictures are left on the mind, only a slurred (impression that Miss Pankhurst was very excited about Russia. Since then, we understand, she has abandoned Russia and become excited about something else.