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John Silas Reed (Portland, Oregon, October 22, 1887-Moscow, October 19, 1920) was an American journalist, poet, correspondent and communist activist, famous for his testimony of the October Revolution Ten days that shook the world. His wife was the feminist writer Louise Bryant.
He belonged to a bourgeois family. His father, a successful businessman, faced corruption in Oregon’s logging industry. Her mother belonged to a family that had made a fortune in the pig iron industry, was conservative and tried to impose her vision on her son.
He studied at Harvard University. In 1913 he began working for the radical newspaper The Masses. In 1911, as a war correspondent for the Metropolitan Magazine, he arrived in Mexico, where his interviews and reports on the Revolution were very successful.
John Reed accompanied Pancho Villa in his attacks through northern Mexico, lived with the soldiers and met Venustiano Carranza, president of Mexico. He collected all his impressions of the Mexican Revolution in a book entitled Mexico insurgente.
He also wrote about the strikes of Colorado miners in 1914. At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to work as a war correspondent, and wrote in 1916 The War in Eastern Europe.
Covering World War I arrived in Russia, which was in full revolutionary effervescence. He met Lenin, and was present in the capital St. Petersburg during the October-November 1917 days during which the Second Congress of Workers, Soldiers and Peasants of All-Russia Soviets took place and during the weeks that followed the congress , led by the Social Democratic Labor Party of Russia (Bolshevik) agreed to the seizure of power under the basic program of achieving a just and immediate peace, worker control of industry and agrarian reform in the countryside.
Reed, accredited as a journalist, made a daily follow-up of the revolutionary process, attending the multitudinous assemblies and the meetings of all the warring factions, interviewing the main leaders of the moment, and made a daily chronicle of the October Revolution. This first-hand account of the details and the daily life of the Bolshevik revolution was captured in his most famous work, Ten days that shook the world, published in 1919.
Upon his return to the United States, Reed, along with other members, was expelled from the National Socialist Congress in August 1919. The dissident group formed the United States Communist Party. Accused of espionage, Reed escaped to the Soviet Union, where he was attacked by typhus, and was buried in the Necropolis of the Kremlin Wall, along with other Bolshevik leaders. Before dying, Reed worked on the book From Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk and makes several references to it in his earlier book of the Russian Revolution. He also became a great reference in the radical intellectual circles of the United States.
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