Arthur Ransome knew Russia. He lived there from 1914 to 1918 almost all the time. He taught himself Russian and became a foreign correspondent for the liberal Daily News and Manchester Guardian. More than that, he came to know many of the Bolshevik leaders like Lenin, Trotsky and Checherin almost as personal friends, and, indeed, married Trotsky's secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina.
Arthur Ransome as a commentator on the Russian scene at the most convulsive moment in its history is unique. Unlike famous visitors like H. G. Wells (though his marvellous book, Russia in the Shadows shouldn't be overlooked) and Bertrand Russell, his was no brief journalistic inspection: and unlike other reporters such as John Reed, Victor Serge and Alfred Rosmer there was no tendentiousness in what he wrote - they were convinced revolutionaries, Ransome, although not unsympathetic to the Bolshevik cause, was a more objective recorder.
Six Weeks in Russia, The Crisis in Russia and the pamphlet, The Truth about Russia constitute the best contemporary writing about Russia at the time of the Bolshevik takeover. They were reissued in the early 1990s, with an introduction by Paul Foot which has been retained for the Faber Finds reissue of Six Weeks in Russia; otherwise they have been out of print since first published
For over 25 years, yachtsmen have clamoured to tell the world
about their most embarrassing exploits and their most shameful
blunders, and the cream of the crop are collected together here in the
hope that the rest of us can learn from their mistakes instead of our
own - or at least have a good laugh at their expense!
Shipwrecks, strandings, mutiny, getting locked in the lavatory...
you couldn't make them up. Counted among the contributors are no less
than four former editors of Yachting Monthly, which goes to prove that worse things really do happen at sea!
Accompanied by cartoons from the inimitable Mike Peyton, this collection deserves a place at every bunkside.