History books on anarchism

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Agent of the Proletariat's picture
Agent of the Pr...
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Sep 1 2017 20:54
History books on anarchism

The kind of history books that are not broad or global, but more local and period specific; that does a good job (in your mind) of capturing the complexities of the anarchist movement. Which ones do you regard as the best (or your favorite)? I am hoping this thread can provide a compilation of books that would serve as alternatives to standard broad accounts of anarchism, including Black Flame.

And please mention the location and time period that's covered.

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Sep 1 2017 21:19

Check out this book https://libcom.org/library/beer-revolution-german-anarchist-movement-new-york-city-1880-1914-tom-goyens

Which looks at the anarchist scene in NYC 1880-1914. Is this the type of work you mean?

adri
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Sep 2 2017 01:00
Agent of the Proletariat wrote:
The kind of history books that are not broad or global, but more local and period specific; that does a good job (in your mind) of capturing the complexities of the anarchist movement. Which ones do you regard as the best (or your favorite)? I am hoping this thread can provide a compilation of books that would serve as alternatives to standard broad accounts of anarchism, including Black Flame.

And please mention the location and time period that's covered.

https://libcom.org/library/no-gods-no-masters-anthology-anarchism

No Gods No Masters is pretty good as far as original sources go, a collection of writings from all the major anarchist thinkers. It's as specific as it gets, giving the firsthand accounts of people like Makhno and the Kronstadters. There's also the various reading guides on here about specific historical periods in which anarchists played a part.

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Sep 1 2017 22:55

From another thread.

Check out: Immigrants Against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America by Kenyon Zimmer.

Here's from the book's blurb:

Quote:
From the 1880s through the 1940s, tens of thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants embraced the anarchist cause after arriving on American shores. Kenyon Zimmer explores why these migrants turned to anarchism and how their adoption of its ideology shaped their identities, experiences, and actions.

Zimmer focuses on Italians and Eastern European Jews in San Francisco, New York City, and Paterson, New Jersey. Tracing the movement's changing fortunes from the pre–World War I era through the Spanish Civil War, Zimmer argues that anarchists, opposed to both American and Old World nationalism, severed all attachments to their nations of origin but also resisted assimilation into their host society. Their radical cosmopolitan outlook and identity instead embraced diversity and extended solidarity across national, ethnic, and racial divides. Though in the end unable to withstand the onslaught of Americanism and other nationalisms, the movement nonetheless provided an important example of a transnational collective identity delinked from the nation-state and racial hierarchies.

syndicalist
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Sep 2 2017 00:51

I always rather liked "A Short History Of Anarchism" by Max Nettlau, Author. As an anarcho-syndcalist, Nettlau's views are not close to mine, yet the book is informative. And it was a "first" of its kind.

I don't think there's a free on line version yet, so.... https://www.akpress.org/shorthistoryofanarchism.html

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Sep 2 2017 07:14

If you're looking for something specific to anarchism, any Peirats books should do just fine (mostly focuses on Spain in the 30's, but can trace back to the late 19th century as well.):

http://libcom.org/tags/josé-peirats

Libcom has it's recommended list too:

http://libcom.org/library/libcomorg-reading-guide

Agent of the Proletariat's picture
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Sep 2 2017 14:42
Pennoid wrote:
Which looks at the anarchist scene in NYC 1880-1914. Is this the type of work you mean?

Yes, definitely.

I'm looking for works that allows anarchist individuals and groups, even the less popular or "unknowns", to speak for themselves, if you know what I mean. That highlights the differences or evolving nature of the politics of those covered. I feel like a lot of histories, even if they are written by those who share our "class struggle anarchist" position, can suffer from a tendency to look back and only find what supports their own perspective, and hence providing a flat picture of the movement.

If you read Albert Meltzer's or Barry Pateman's views on the writings of anarchist history, here and here, they express similar sentiments.

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Sep 14 2017 05:37

Concerning Ukraine and the Makhnovist movement, I would recommend:

Primary Sources

Peter Arshinov, History of the Makhnovist Movement (Freedom Press, 2005)
Voline, The Unknown Revolution (Black Rose Books, 1975)
Nestor Makhno, The Russian Revolution in Ukraine[/i (Black Cat Press, 2007)
Nestor Makhno, [i]Under the Blows of the Counterrevolution
(Black Cat Press, 2009)
Nestor Makhno, The Ukrainian Revoluiton (Black Cat Press, 2011)

Secondary Sources

Alexandre Skirda, Nestor Makhno: Anarchy's Cossack (AK Press, 2004)
Michael Palij, The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno (University of Washington Press, 1976)
Michael Malet, Nestor Makhno in the Russian Civil War (MacMillan Press, 1985)
Victor Peters, Nestor Makhno: The Life of an Anarchist (Echo Books, 1971)
Vyacheslav Azarov, Kontrrazvedka: The Story of the Makhnovist Intelligence Service (Black Cat Press, 2008)

Black Cat Press has also published on other specific anarchist movements such as Maria Nikiforova (independent anarchist that led a fighting battalion during the Russian Civil War,) and the Siberian anarchist movement during the revolution/civil war.

Another interesting book dealing with a very specific movement is Travis Tomchuk's Transnational Radicals: Italian Radicals in Canada and the US, 1915-1940. I haven't looked at it yet but there is also Dongyoun Hwang's Anarchism in Korea: Independence, Transnationalism, and the Question of National Development, 1919-1984. Finally you can find John Crump's The Anarchist Movement in Japan, 1906-1996 here: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/john-crump-the-anarchist-movement-in-japan-1906-1996

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Sep 14 2017 10:26

There are a bunch of articles in the library here about various anarchist movements from various countries. Don't have time right now but for instance 'Anarcho-syndicalism in Peru, 1905-1930 - Steven Hirsch' is a good one and there are similar ones on Brazil, Chile, etc which are interesting.

Also: 'Seething with the ideal : Galleanisti and class struggle in late 19th century and early 20th-century USA' is interesting about US insurrectionary anarchists.

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Sep 14 2017 11:43

Two other short local histories I really like are Nick Heath's '“A small anarchist republic”: French anarchists in Fitzrovia' about French anarchist exiles in London who escaped repression following the fall of the Paris Commune, and 'Spanish anarchists in the Welsh valleys' about Spanish anarcho-syndicalists who found work in Wales' mining villages.