Baron brings together eleven articles published between 1958 and 1986 with a new introduction and an autobiographical essay that serves as a coda to the collection. The essays examine Georgi V. Plekhanov's ideas about history and their relationship to Soviet historiography, most especially his concept of poet-primitive Russia not as a Western feudal society but rather an Oriental despotism, and his views on the prospect for socialism in the United States. Baron also includes two pieces that revise his earlier thinking about Plekhanov, retracing his steps and exploring paths he neglected in his earlier research for his major biography, Plekhanov: The Father of Russian Marxism (1963).
A sensitive portrayal of Russia's first Marxist and a lucid analysis of the vicissitudes of his fortunes as theoretician and historian. . . . a discerning view of Plekhanov's historical thought and the fortunes of Marxist theory in pre-revolutionary Russia and its successor Soviet state.