Paris: B. Barthold (S. P. L'vov), 1910. Octavo (18 × 13.5 cm). Original green printed card wrappers; XVI, , 187, XVI,  pp. Frontis portrait of the author. Wrappers lightly discolored; spine rubbed and front wrapper nearly detached; internally very good or better, with the tipped-in errata sheet.
First edition. The fascinating memoir of the double agent Aleksandr Petrov, a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Combat Organization (the terrorist branch of the Social Revolutionary Party of Russia), who also worked for the Okhrana, or Secret Police of the Russian Empire. To exculpate himself with his comrades, Petrov carried out an explosion that killed Sergei Karpov, the head of the St. Petersburg branch of the Okhrana. Petrov was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. Boris V. Bartol'd, another member of the SR combat organization, published Petrov’s memoir posthumously, to help explain Petrov’s motives, making a compelling messianic figure out of Petrov and further promoting the activities of the SRs.
The Socialist Revolutionary Party (SRs) was the most numerous socialist party in Russia and a competitor of Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), the party of Vladimir Lenin. Aleksandr Petrov (1882-1910) joined the SRs in 1902 and was soon arrested for agitation in the villages. Subsequent arrests and prison terms followed, during one of these he agreed to become a double agent for the Okhrana (Russian Secret Police). Bartol'd provides an introduction to the book, offering some biographical information, especially about Petrov’s difficult student years and his joining the SRs as a respite. The memoir also reproduces Petrov’s “confession," in which he speaks frankly about his betrayal of the party and his repentance and decision to absolve himself.
Book ID: P6143