By Cathy Porter
Alexandra Kollontai was a major figure in the Russian revolutionary movement, and one of its most powerful and popular writers, a charismatic leader of women, and the only woman commissar in the first Bolshevik government after the October 1917 Revolution.
She wrote prolifically in her years as an activist, publishing seven books, and over two hundred articles, essays and pamphlets - anti war agitation, fiction, book reviews and memoirs, and her works on women and the family, for which she is best known. Cathy Porter's wide-ranging selection of her writings covers her early experiences in the 1890s in the revolutionary underground, when she first discovered Marx, her mobilisation of factory women in the struggle for their liberation, her years as a political exile in Europe, campaigning against war and imperialism, and her fight to defend Soviet power on her return to Russia in 1917. All her works here are in new translations, and all but three have been translated into English for the first time.