One of the few members of the Russian aristocracy to become a revolutionary, Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842‒1921) renounced his title at the age of 12. He later became one of the leading theorists of anarchism. Forced to flee his homeland in the 1870s to avoid arrest for his revolutionary activities against the czarist government, the noted geographer and social philosopher lived in exile, mainly in England, for the next 42 years of his life. During this period Kropotkin wrote a number of pamphlets on the practical and moral aspects of the anarchist movement. Allowed to return to Russia in 1917, he continued to write but remained vigorously opposed to the Bolsheviks and Marxist socialism.
This collection contains a number of his important writings, including the brief but moving "Spirit of Revolt"; "Modern Science and Anarchism," an investigation of the scientific principles of revolutionary anarchism; "Law and Authority," an argument for social control through custom and education; "Prisons and Their Moral Influence on Prisoners," an unparalleled description of the evils of the prison system (which Kropotkin witnessed during his incarcerations); a note on the 1917 revolution and the Soviet government; and five other documents. Also reprinted is Kropotkin's article for the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Anarchism," widely considered the best statement in English on the meaning, history, and aims of revolutionary anarchism.
A valuable addition to the libraries of instructors and students of history and government, this modestly priced volume also will appeal to anyone interested in aspects of anarchist thought.