Nestor Makhno has been called a revolutionary anarchist, a peasant
rebel, the Ukrainian Robin Hood, a mass-murderer, a pogromist, and
a devil. These epithets had their origins in the Russian Civil War
(1917-1921), where the military forces of the peasant-anarchist
Nestor Makhno and Mennonite colonists in southern Ukraine came into
conflict. In autumn 1919, Makhnovist troops and local peasant
sympathizers murdered more than 800 Mennonites in a series of
large-scale massacres. The history of that conflict has been
fraught with folklore, ideological battles and radically divergent
cultural memories, in which fact and fiction often seamlessly
blend, conjuring a multitude of Makhnos, each one shouting its
message over the other. Drawing on theories of collective memory
and narrative analysis, Makhno and Memory brings a vast array of
Makhnovist and Mennonite sources into dialogue, including memoirs,
histories, diaries, newspapers, and archival material. A diversity
of perspectives are brought into relief through the personal
reminiscences of Makhno and his anarchist sympathizers alongside
Mennonite pacifists and advocates for armed self-defense. Through a
meticulous analysis of the Makhnovist-Mennonite conflict and a
micro-study of the Eichenfeld massacre of October 1919, Sean
Patterson attempts to make sense of the competing cultural memories
and presents new ways of thinking about Makhno and his movement.
Makhno and Memory offers a convincing reframing of the Mennonite /
Makhno relationship that will force a scholarly reassessment of
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