Soon after Marguerite Harrison’s gripping autobiography was published, the New York Times called it the most interesting and valuable book available on contemporary Russia. Yet, inexplicably, the work has been out of print for 80 years.
First published in 1921, just months after Harrison’s release from a Bolshevik prison. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of her entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and her increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Harrison’s work came out fully a decade earlier than most other accounts of Soviet Russia and is very mzuch in the tradition of John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook the World, yet Harrison’s is not a sympathetic voice. She is an incredibly observant, tenacious and meticulous journalist, but also very much an ordinary American woman caught up in extraordinary events.
This new edition has been meticulously edited, glossed with hundreds of useful explanatory footnotes, supplemented with documents from KGB and U.S. intelligence archives, as well as photographs of many of the main actors and locales, and includes an introduction by the editor, William Benton Whisenhunt.