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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; Dover Ed edition (28 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048641955X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486419558
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By David J. Smith on 24 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
Peter Kropotkin, whose anthology of works this is, was a socialist anarchist. At the close of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, he was an advocate of what ~ after Mikhail Bakunin ~ sometimes gets called (most famously in Monty Python's Holy Grail) "anarcho-syndicalism". He was opposed to statism such as Russian (Stalinist) Communism, but ridiculed the idea of individualistic opposition to the state. His communism, like that of some of today's cutting edge (i.e. 'post-pomo', if we can take such a classification seriously) continental philosophers, was a non-party, non-state communism embracing concerted social revolution both inaugurated and overseen by the people themselves. (Lenin is said to have admired this man greatly, Marx was a rival).

Pyotr Kropotkin was born a prince, but renounced the title at the age of twelve, to live a poor life, often persecuted and imprisoned while the Czarist regime operated, but always writing, as a scientist, as a traveller in England and in Switzerland, and of course, as an expounder of anarchism. Invited to join the British Royal Society for his scientific work, he declined on the grounds of the Royal association. Kropotkin thought of himself as a man of action and not as a philosopher.

His life fills me with the gusto of a protégé': by my age this man had seriously annoyed just about every capitalist, feudalist and party-line communist group going with his radical, yet sensible, ideas (such as Mutual Aid). In some ways, I think that the ever-flourishing P2P online community is a kind of testimony to the effectiveness of his ideas; an unbaptised implementation of Mutual Aid, his greatest legacy.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. Peters on 13 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is brilliant. Anyone looking for a summary of anarcho-communist ideas should own a copy. Kropotkin is an incredibly interesting character and his theories remain very relevant to this day.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Anarchism as it should be explained 2 April 2007
By Stephen R. Devoy - Published on
Format: Paperback
Kropotkin writes with the heart of one true to his ideals, with depth that Marx cannot reach, and intelligence that few can exceed. Revolutionary and scientist, this anti-aristocratic man of aristocratic birth explains elegantly and pleasantly the sound empirical foundations of his theory of anarchist philosophy. From the bottom up, he creates his compelling arguments in support of a world where all men and women are equal, where private property is abolished, and all work together, freely and voluntarily for the common and individual good. The libertarian communism of Kropotkin inspires orders of magnitude beyond the authoritarian communism described by Marx. His pamphlets, contained in the book, bring to life this long maligned political philosophy called anarchism. If you read these works and walk away without a sympathetic view towards anarchism, you have either not truly read them or your soul has become poisoned with the dark sufferings of life under capitalism.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Kropotkin at his most subversive 6 Jun 2010
By Obadiah Fairfax - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kropotkin is a class traitor to the bone. Born a prince, he spent the rest of his life trying to destroy the very system which he was blessed to be born in the good side. Kropotkin is not your typical leftist pamphleteer. His language is short and concise, and understandable by anyone. He led a revolutionary life.

This book is a collection of writings by Kropotkin that deal with a wide range of topics that fall under the umbrella of freedom. Kropotkin eloquently puts forth the ideals of Anarchist Communism in simple, non-obtuse language where he lays out what Anarchist Communism, and maybe as importantly, what it isn't. In "The Spirit of Revolt", Kropotkin defends revolution, and notes that only social revolution is what will end the existing capitalist order. This is a response to the reformists and the critics of the anarchists who say that anarchism is too "idealist." Quite the opposite, Kropotkin knew full well to avoid utopian fantasies and believed firmly that the only way the working class can liberate itself is by doing it themselves in revolution. Even though his demeanor from his writings indicates a calm, if not lovable old sage (in contrast to many of the leftists of his day), Kropotkin does not deny the reality that revolution may or even has to be violent. Kropotkin was a full on realist.

Even though I consider myself a solid leftist, I was somewhat reserved on the idea of getting rid of prisons entirely. I definitely oppose the prison system as it exists right now, but I was conflicted on the institution in general. Even though I know full well that prison does not a thing to end crime, there are some people who commit such heinous acts they should be put away. Peter Kropotkin, in short, straight up embarrassed me. In "Prisons and Their Moral Influence on Prisoners", Kropotkin sends the institution of prison to the electric chair. Kropotkin uses common sense to prove why prisons are absolutely futile, self-defeating, cruel, and do nothing to solve the real issues. Prison is a crime.

"An Appeal to the Young" displays both Kropotkin's compassion, revolutionary drive, and his skills as a writer. This will make you want to get up out of your seat and do something, after you recover from Kropotkin playing your emotions like a fiddle.

This book is definitely a companion to "The Conquest of Bread." Kropotkin's elegant style makes even the longest of texts breeze by. The only reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because what I believe to be Kropotkin's most important pamphletes were not included. "Small Communal Experiments and Why They Fail" is one of, if not the most important things Kropotkin has written besides his main body of work. He details why setting up a commune with communist principles in the existing capitalist world is futile and a waste of time. He stresses revolution as the only way to eliminate capitalism. Also, "Communism and Anarchy" is important in that Kropotkin effortlessly destroys the notion that Communism weakens individuality and "sacrifices" the individual.

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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Outmoded but certainly worth the read 7 Dec 2002
By Kevin Currie-Knight - Published on
Format: Paperback
Prince Peter Kropotkin was the first thinker since William Godwin to construct a full system of anarcho-collectivism. This collection consists of a bunch of satisfying niblets (yes, niblets) of that system, some better than others.
First, anyone into anarchism has got to read Kropotkins essay of that title for the Encyclopedia Britannica. It has to be the clearest written, most well-stated short intro around. His essay on "The Anarchist Morality (written oddly enough as a retort to some kids who, after stealing some books, justified it with "To each according to his need.")The early essays, which take us through the first hundred-or-so pages are the best, as they get into the underlying theory of anarchism and what "sponteneous order" might look like. Of course "Modern Science and Anarchism" is a complete misnomer because the essay is heavy on philosophical speculation with not much scientific speculation. The latter essays are more-or-less historical propoganda and will be of interest to the history student.
Still, in a world of inarticulate and often unsavory characters, Kropotkin comes off as astute, thoughtful, clear and insightful. Of course, science has (done its best to?)prove Kropotkin wrong on his altruistic evolutionary theories. Even modern "reciprical altruists" in the wake of Dawkins, Wilson and Ridley are looking less altruistic and more reciprical. I guess only time will tell. Hmmmm....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Required Reading Every Four Years 11 Dec 2012
By Domenick A Acocella - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's simple. Change cannot come from the top down. We must dismantle the top and go back to community and individual responsibility based on a sense of doing to others as we would have them do to us. Elites are in power and will not relinquish this power. They never have.

Kropotkin is an idealist. He will say he is not but he is. I fear that these days he sounds too hopeful, too trusting of the concept of human dignity, that we have it. That said, every four years, when the Republicans and Democrats go on about freedom and democracy, pick up your Kropotkin and listen to him and ask yourself, can we really be free under this or any government?
Libertarian thinker and Anarchism 25 Oct 2013
By León Fernando Del Canto حمزة - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kropotkin writings are a must for anyone interested in deciphering the problem of human freedom and liberty and to learn about the principles of Anarchism and libertarian approaches to contemporary problems
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