Moscow: Krasnaia nov’, 1923. 111 pp.: ill. 23x16 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Small tears of spine, some soiling and foxing, otherwise very good.
First and only edition. Notable photomontage cover design was created by Alexander Rodchenko. He put together large pictures of a worker and a mariner who are towering over a defeated and crossed out White officer. He combined them with small-scale caricatures of capitalists and some fighting people. In total, a general picture of unrest was composed. A rather simple yet interesting letterpress design was created for the title.
It is a book of corrected memoirs of Bolshevik military officer Pavel Dybenko (1889-1938). During the 1917 unrest he was appointed the People’s Commissar of Naval Affairs. In February 1918, he commanded a unit of a thousand sailors against the German troops near Narva. The detachment suffered losses, so Dybenko refused to follow any orders of general D. Parsky and left Narva. Then Lenin urged to take strict measures against Dybenko for disobedience to command. The following month, Dybenko was arrested and expelled from the party. Yet, because of his authority among mariners, he was released and managed to escape to Povolzhye, under the color of struggle against local Whites. Actually, there were several sailor units that Dybenko could rely on as an armed force. Dybenko soon headed the local opposition and there he published texts accusing Lenin of corruption, stealing huge amounts of gold, incompetence, terrorism and of being a foreign agent. Nevertheless, he soon ceased to lead the opposition and finally was granted life. Undoubtedly, his spouse Alexandra Kollontai played a role. Dybenko was sent far away from the Baltic Fleet – to the Soviet Ukrainian Army – where he contributed to military actions against generals Denikin and Vrangel. In 1919, Dybenko even led Bolshevik attacks against the rebellion of Kronstadt mariners. During the Great Purge, Dybenko first launched a campaign of mass slaughter of command staff in the Leningrad Military District and then he himself was executed.