Politically radical author Victor Serge lived through some of the 20th century's most crucial dramas—in this novel he reports directly from St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution. But beyond its historical interest, this is an accomplished piece of literature, a collective novel that seems to compress an entire city's human experience into a short 200 pages. Serge's writing fuses a sense of political commitment that would shame most Americans with an ability to see the tragic lack of easy answers beyond doctrine. Everything he wrote is worth discovering; this is a good place to start. —Recomnmended by Matt, City Lights Books
1919–1920: St. Petersburg, city of the czars, has fallen to the Revolution. Camped out in the splendid palaces of the former regime, the city's new masters seek to cement their control, even as the counterrevolutionary White Army regroups. Conquered City, Victor Serge's most unrelenting narrative, is structured like a detective story, one in which the new political regime tracks down and eliminates its enemies—the spies, speculators, and
traitors hidden among the mass of common people.
Conquered City is about terror: the Red Terror and the White Terror. But mainly about the Red, the Communists who have dared to pick up the weapons of power—police, guns, jails, spies, treachery—in the doomed gamble that by wielding them righteously, they can put an end to the need for terror, perhaps forever. Conquered City is their tragedy and testament.