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91: Kronstadt, part II

January 1, 2012

I wanted to start this week off with a counterpoint to last weeks generally pro-Kronstadt sailor covers. To the left is the cover of Kronstadt by Lenin and Trotsky, published by the Trotskyist Pathfinder Press in 1994. The cover clearly shows who the authors and publishers are aligned with, because instead of the striking sailors, we are given an image of the Red Army soldiers that attacked and slaughtered them. As a design it is quite effective, the soldiers emerging out of the snow (and the white field of the cover). In addition, the A in the word Kronstadt in the title is literally crushed, put at an extreme italic. It’s those little details that can really make a cover.
Along the same political path, below to the left is another anti-anarchist sectarian tract, Kronstadt & Counterrevolution (1988) by what I expect was a British Commie splinter group called the Bolshevik Tendency. The cover is standard political pamphlet fare, except for the choice of a smart-looking Vorticist-like tank image. I feel like I’ve actually seen the image before, but can’t recall exactly where it is from. Oddly, as Kronstadt was a navel base, and it was the middle of winter, I don’t believe tanks were anywhere near it in 1921. Although likely not as reactionary, to the right is the cover for F.F. Raskolnikov’s account of the sailors and strikes in Kronstadt and Petrograd in 1917 (New Park, 1982), during the Bolshevik revolution. The titling is quite hard to read, but the photo of the sailors marching is interesting, combining the repetition of the uniforms with the uniqueness of the banners.

While researching this post I came across a couple of covers for a Spanish book with the title Los Espectros de Kronstadt, attributed to “Anonymous.” Strangely I can find no evidence of an English edition of the book, our much additional information about it. The paperback to the left is from 1967 and a publisher called Libro Documento. The illustration is a relatively stock sailor’s fighting image successfully spiced up with a lot of dramatic line work. I’m unsure about the decision to bisect the entire cover with a horizontal black line, it might have worked better without it, but it also could be a house style. On the left is the impression on the cloth hardback from 1960, published by Luis de Caralt. An interesting cubist abstract face, powerful and mysterious. I’d love to know more about this book, and if there is an English translation.

Next up is Janis Bogdanow’s Wir hoffen sehr ouf Kronstadt, a novel originally published anonymously, but later attributed. I’ve found two German covers, and a cover for a French translation. The first cover, and I believe first edition, is the 1954 dust jacket from Greven Verlag. The haunted face hovering over minarets is striking, particularly the empty black eyes. The 1959 jacket from the Studio Schaffen und Forschen edition is much more traditional, very modernist, and almost jazzy, especially in comparison to the grim cover on the previous version.
In 1962, the French publishing giant Gallimard published a translation of Bogdanow’s book under the title Ceux de Kronstadt. The cover returns us to the popular red, black, and white color palette with a highly blown out and stylized running crowd shot in black on a red field, with the title tastefully laid on top in thin white serifed type. Next to that is another Kronstadt novel, this one by George Malcolm Thomson, titled Kronstadt ’21, and published in 1985 in the UK by Martin Secker & Warburg. The cover seems classic 80s, with thick, romantic, serifed titles and the puffy gilded eagle in the center—part romance, part spy/military action. I actually have no idea what the novel is about, but that’s what the cover reads.


Next week I’ll wrap up the Kronstadt covers, so if you’re hiding any good ones, send them in so I can include them.

AnarchismAnti-capitalismCulture & MediaHistoryLaborSocial Movements

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2 comments on “91: Kronstadt, part II”

Just FYI – The Bolshevik Tendency is another Trotskyite splinter group, who would therefore side with Lenin & Trotsky against the sailors.
New Park Publications was associated with the Socialist Labour League, at one time the largest Trotskyite group in the UK. Again, pro-Lenin and against the sailors.

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