1 February 2020: Eric Lee was interviewed by the Moscow Times which also published an excerpt from the book.
23 January 2020: Here is the text of Eric Lee's speech in Moscow on 16 January 2020 to mark the publication fo the book in Russian.
29 November 2019: We now have the cover for the Russian language edition of the book, which is coming out in January 2020. Click here to view it.
30 September 2019: Eric Lee is interviewed by the Georgian newspaper Liberali.
30 November 2018: Eric Lee spoke at Tbilisi State University on the subject of A Tale of Two Revolutions.
20 November 2018: Eric Lee's article "100 Years On, What's Left Of Georgian Social Democracy?" appeared on the website of The Foreign Policy Centre.
1 November 2018: Eric Lee spoke at two events in London - Georgian Studies Day at the University of Westminster with the theme 'Georgian Independence 1918-1921: Then and Now' and later at SOAS - Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus, on the subject of Georgia's experiment in democratic socialism.
11 October 2018: Eric Lee spoke on a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair, together with his publishers in Georgia and the UK. The Guest of Honour at this year's fair is Georgia. There are photos of the event and a desciption - in Georgian - here.
26 July 2018: Eric Lee spoke to young activists and leaders from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia about the legacy of the first republics in those countries. Read the full text here.
11 July 2018: Eric Lee's article Georgia's experiment with democratic socialism was published by Rudaw, a Kurdish news website.
5 July 2018: Eric Lee's article The Second International – Georgia's "useless" ally or a European power? was published on the civil.de website. Civil.ge is a project run by the United Nations Association of Georgia.
25-30 June 2018: Eric Lee spoke at an international conference in Tbilisi to mark 100 years since the Georgian declaration of independence in May 1918. His initial talk on the Socialist delegation to Georgia in 1920 is online here.
13 June 2018: Eric Lee spoke at Housman's Bookshop in London about the Georgian experiment. One participant tweets: "Was at this earlier this evening. Absolutely compelling story well told. Fair to say everyone was enthralled. ‘The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921’. Housmans sold out of his book within minutes. @ZedBooks has got a winner here."
9 June 2018: Eric Lee spoke at the London Esperanto Club -- in Esperanto -- about the Georgian Republic. Full text here
25 May 2018: Eric and Peter Tatchell had an article published in the Huffington Post -- "In the streets of Tbilisi, Georgians must make a choice".
19 May 2018: Eric Lee spoke at an event at the home of Sir Oliver Wardrop, the first British High Commissioner to the Caucasus, during the period of Georgian independence. Here is full text of his speech.
5 May 2018: Eric Lee speaks on a panel at a showing of an hour long film produced by the National Archives in Tbilisi, and consisting of footage from the first Georgian republic in 1918-1921. The film is shown as part of the London Georgian Film Festival, dedicated this year to the 100th anniversary of Georgian independence.
1 May 2018: Eric Lee speaks at a Henry Jackson Society event in London, on the subject of lessons of the first Georgian republic.
26 April 2018: Eric Lee speaks about the first Georgian republic at an event at the bookshop at Ilia State University in Tbilisi. This is preceded by an hour long radio interview.
25 April 2018: The book is launched in Georgian, at the Museum of the Soviet Occupation, part of the National Museum of Georgia, in Tbilisi. The Experiment is now available in three languages -- English, Esperanto and Georgian.
24 April 2018: Eric Lee is interviewed in Tbilisi by two Georgian national television stations -- Imedi TV and Rustavi2.
9 March 2018: Sean's Russian Blog posts a 40 minute long interview with Eric Lee about the first Georgian republic.
6 March 2018: Book launch held in the Houses of Parliament in London, organised by the Georgian Embassy in the UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Georgia. Here is the account of the event in Georgia Today.
20 February 2018: Britain's venerable Fabian Society, two of whose leaders visited democratic socialist Georgia, has just published Eric Lee's article on "the most perfect socialism in Europe".
19 February 2018: You can order copies of the Esperanto edition of The Experiment in many countries - see here - scroll to bottom of the page. We're currently showing 16 online bookstores where you can order the book.
30 January 2018: The Esperanto language edition of the book - the first translation into a foreign language - is due to appear later this week. The publisher is MAS. Details on how to order the book coming soon.
11 January 2017: Zed Books is selling the e-book version for 80% off - just £2.20 - for the next 8 days. Details here.
28 December 2017: Eric Lee's article on the legacy of the Georgian Democratic Republic appears in EuropeNow.
27 November 2017: Eric Lee's article "Another revolution was possible" appears in OpenDemocracy
3 November 2017: Dr Samantha Lomb of the The New Books Network interviewed Eric Lee for 48 minutes about the book.
22 October 2017: The New York Times Book Review reviews the book.
13 October 2017: Eric Lee is interviewed for 30 minutes by Ian Williams on the Catskill Review of Books radio show.
18 September 2017: Historia magazine publishes author Eric Lee's account of how and why he wrote the book.
15 September 2017: Official date of publication. Author Eric Lee addresses the congress of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation, Tbilisi. You can read his talk here.
14 September 2017: Launch party in Tbilisi at Prospero's Books. Read author Eric Lee's talk here.
4 September 2017: Zed Books publishes this blog by author Eric Lee, introducing the subject of the first Georgian republic.
3 September 2017: The Bookseller, the British weekly magazine for bookshops and the publishing industry, has named THE EXPERIMENT as one of the best book cover designs for September.
Total number of reviews on this page: 48
"A must read for social democrats. Excellent and very readable and a must read for anyone who is interested in knowing what happens when social democracy was put into government even for a very short time before foreign invasion and destruction." Review by Tamara Dragadze, on Amazon.
"Eric Lee is a journalist as well as a historian and The Experiment benefits from his crisp, clear prose. He is also a veteran of the labour movement and these two aspects allowed him to situate the experience of the Georgian Social Democratic Republic within its historical and geopolitical context and, perhaps most importantly, within socialist history and thought. He engages critically with his sources, drawing on a diverse group of writers including Leon Trotsky, Karl Kautsky, and future British Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to tell the story of the Georgian Republic. Most importantly, when locating Zhordania and his Georgian Mensheviks within the canon of Marxist theory and the plurality of contemporaneous Marxist opinion, Lee makes socialisttheory accessible to his readers. He introduces a ‘Who’s Who’ of early twentieth-century socialism, making sure to explain briefly to his readers the identity of these people and their significance to socialist thought, while never losing sight of his main narrative of Georgian socialist and democratic development. Lee’s accessible style and his comprehensive look at a largely unstudied subject makes The Experiment a must-read for casual history buffs, students and serious scholars alike." Review by Dr Samantha Lomb, Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Language Teaching Methodologies, Vyatka State University, Russia in the journal Europe-Asia Studies.
"Eric Lee, a labor activist and journalist in the United Kingdom, has produced a lively text on a
neglected but fascinating period in the history of socialism, and in the history of revolutions. ... The book will attract a lot of interest among Europeans who are thinking about alternatives to authoritarian socialism, or to neo-liberalism. The author has performed an important service by throwing light on a fascinating period in Georgian, European, and world history. The Georgian Democratic Republic needs far more attention in the historiography of European socialism and European twentieth-century history than it has received so far. Eric Lee has given us a good start." Review by Dr Stephen Jones, Mount Holyoke College, in Russian Review.
"Very insightful book, about a forgotten socialist and democratic 'experiment' in newly independent Georgia between 1918 and 1921, only to be violently crushed by a military invasion of totalitarian communists, the Soviets, in winter 1921. Clearly thoroughly researched ... seems accurately described in a very lively and readable way." Review on GoodReads
"An excellent brief of the revolution that occurred in Georgia and the events that followed after 1917 ... shows the many ways the Soviets were not socialists. Lee writes about the entire socialist movement in Europe, so the reader can easily understand the context of the Menshevik experiment of the country."
From a five star review on Amazon.com
"Tial apero de la libro en Esperanto estas grava por internacia publiko, kiu interesiĝas pri socialismo, marksismo, demokratio, anarĥiismo kaj etnaj interrilatoj en ties ligo kun ĉiuj supraj aferoj." Nikolao Gudskov in a critical review of the Esperanto edition of the book
"May 26 2018 marks the centenary of the establishment of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Georgia. It was a republic that Trotsky smeared in his sectarian pamphlet Between red and white. Last year saw the publication of The experiment: Georgias forgotten revolution 1918-1921 by Eric Lee, which rebutted the smears. In particular - and contrary to Bolshevik assertions - Bolsheviks were unpopular in Georgia, while Mensheviks were popular. The alleged collusion with Anton Denikin’s White Army was inaccurately portrayed (something Kautsky realised too). Trade unions were strong, with the right to strike. In 1920, on a visit there, Kautsky and two Belgian socialists, Vandervelde and Huysmans, described it as “the most perfect socialism in Europe”. Lee says it was a pluralist, multi-party democracy of free elections, where the constitution guaranteed universal suffrage, a free press, separation of church and state, and abolished the death penalty." Jon D. White in a letter to the Weekly Worker
"Lee has produced a well-researched, well-written and engaging account of the DRG which is a welcome and necessary addition to the literature." Francis King reviewing the book for the European History Quarterly
"Lee calls 1918-21 a 'forgotten revolution.' The story of that revolution is worth remembering, and has never before been told so well." Maxim Edwards reviewing the book for eurasianet
"Georgia was undoubtedly, as Lee says, 'a vision of a new society radically different from the one Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were creating'. It was a pluralist, multi-party democracy of free elections, where the constitution guaranteed universal suffrage, a free press, separation of church and state and abolished the death penalty. The Mensheviks correctly observed that impoverished, backward societies cannot skip historical stages and proceed to create socialism. Bolsheviks wrongly claimed they had done otherwise in Russia." Socialist Standard - review by DJW
"Very interesting reading" Antonio Polanco in a five-star review on Amazon.com
"Lee's book was interesting in general. I was entirely ignorant of this period and I found it really inspiring. I would strongly recommend it." From a review in The Socialist Entrepreneur
"These two volumes, anarchist and social-democratic in orientation, provide critically important perspectives for understanding the myriad failures of the Russian Revolution. Both perspectives rightly repudiate the goal of establishing State capitalism through dictatorship." Javier Sethness reviewing The Experiment and another title for Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
"Must-read book for everyone interested in that period of Georgia's history, which, regrettably, is less known even in Georgia." GiS in a five-star review on Amazon.com
"Finished reading The Experiment by @erictlee about the short lived Georgia Socialist Republic and their struggle to find a way other than Bolshevism or Capitalism. Easy to read and follow and starts to fill in a gap I didn't even know I had." Rosa Angelone on Twitter
"Отличная книга об истории Грузинской Демократической Республики, ведущую роль в политической жизни которой играла местная социал-демократическая партия. Автор книги Эрик Ли - известный профсоюзный активист и писатель, редактор портала LabourStart, занимающегося международными кампаниями в защиту трудовых и профсоюзных прав." - Alexander Nurik on Pintaram
"Todo el mundo conoce la historia de la Revolución Rusa de 1917. Pero menos personas sabrán de la notable historia de una revolución en Georgia que tuvo lugar junto a esto, que fue una exploración del socialismo democrático y una economía cooperativa. Esta es una laguna que Eric Lee, escritor y distinguido activista sindical, completa en su libro The Experiment." - Spanish version of Ed Mayo's review (see below) from a coop movement website in Chile
"Everyone knows the story of the Russian Revolution of 1917. But fewer people will know of the remarkable story of a revolution in Georgia that took place alongside this, which was an exploration of democratic socialism and a co-operative economy. This is a gap that Eric Lee, writer and distinguished trade union activist, fills in his book The Experiment." Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, in a review for Coop News
"Eric Lee explains how Georgia created a social democratic republic which had the support of the whole population ... The last chapter describes what this ideal social democracy could have been. It makes a heartrending read. " - Elisso Tarassachvili (daughter of Serge Tarassachvili, the student leader of the 1924 insurrection in Georgia and granddaughter of Vassili Tsouladzé, first secretary of the Georgian Social Democratic Party) writing for The FORUM, the magazine of the Scotland-Russia Forum - Warning: downloads a big PDF file
"A truly well written and informative book, free of bias. A must read for all Georgians and anyone interested in that period of history." - Redjeb Jordania (son of the President of the Georgian Democratic Republic)
"Eric Lee has produced a compelling account of this little-known episode, setting it in the overall context of the divisions within the Socialist movement as a result of the first world war. He provides a lot of insight into the very different path that the Georgian Mensheviks took as a socialist party ruling over a country not at all ready for socialism. Much of it - especially the section on cooperatives - has a very contemporary feel, and I rather think that John McDonnell would benefit from reading some of the chapters." - Jeremy Green in a five-star review on Amazon.co.uk
"Eric Lee has written a remarkable book, The Experiment, which tells the history of the First Georgian Republic. ... It does, however, do more than that. By placing the Georgian experiment in its historical and international context, it gives us important insights into the nature of nation-building, socialism, Stalinism, and even contemporary Russia." - Dan Gallin writing in Dissent
Verso Books has reprinted Owen Hatherley's piece from the New Socialist (see below), here
"Lee’s The Experiment is both a good read and basically a good history, though in my view he fails at his defense of Menshevism." - Dan LaBotz A critical review of the book in New Politics
"Eric Lee’s superb history of the little told story of the attempt to establish a form of social democracy in the unlikely rural backwater of Georgia ... This book, written with transparent prose, shines much new light on an neglected story." - Justin Reynolds Top 10 books of 2017
"Eric Lee's book is excellent. He has made an obscure, if important, moment in history come alive in a very readable book. Even though you know "whodunit" before you start the book, those three years are a fascinating story." - Jim Baker Read the full 5 star review on Amazon.com
"Despite its name, the Russian Revolution was not just a Russian phenomenon. Journalist and historian Eric Lee tells one of these non-Russian stories in his Georgia's Forgotten Revolution ... Lee's book describes the major figures of this beguiling political experiment, and how their politics was an alternative to the Bolshevik authoritarianism emerging in neighbouring Russia." - Howard Amos Read the full review in The Calvert Journal, which named The Experiment as one of the "best centennial books on 1917 from this year you should read"
"Although Lee's The Experiment is strongly pro-Menshevik and not always convincing, it is an informative book about an interesting experiment during a turbulent period." - Ron Blom Read the full review in DUTCH in socialisme.nu - de linkste site van Nederland
A very positive review of the book in KOREAN From Pressian
"But the brute fact of the Georgian Democratic Republic remains, testament to a course that a different Revolution might have taken, an alternative future that perhaps could have been. And, as Eric Lee writes in The Experiment, his vivid history of the Republic, there is 'something terribly poignant in the image of Georgia’s Constituent Assembly holding its final meeting in Batumi on the Black Sea coast. With the Red Army only hours away, and the Georgian government rushing to board ships that would take them into exile, the Georgian Social Democrats were keen to complete their legacy'." - Justin Reynolds Read the full review in THE NEW EUROPEAN
"One of the most important books coming from the democratic Left in a long time" - Roy Nitzberg Read the five star review on Amazon.com
"Thank you for sharing your knowledge, passion and, yes, vision. Only 5 stars, really? It’s worth 10." - Michael Chai Read the five star review on Amazon.com
"One of the few genuinely original books on the Russian Revolution and its aftermath that has emerged in 2017." - John Medhurst Read the five star review on Amazon.com
"Eric Lee's mischievous new book, argues that the Georgian Menshevik republic was an alternative to the Bolshevik-led workers’ government, which came to power in October 1917. This is absolute fantasy, which confuses discussion of working-class politics at the time and the importance of the Russian revolution for today’s class struggles. ... Menshevism was the programme of self-limiting defeat. Trotsky was right to consign it to the dustbin of history." - Paul Vernadsky Read the very critical review in SOLIDARITY Read my rebuttal published in SOLIDARITY a week later
"Eric Lee tries to unveil the roots and main characteristics of Georgian social-democracy which is still unknown for many in the west. This hidden period of the history of Caucasian countries is extremely interesting ... The work describes collisions of so many interests in the region and the way Georgian idealists acted at the time of a great warfare. All these is managed in a very simple and readable manner. The book is highly recommended for those interested in the modern histories of Georgia, Caucasus, Russia and East Europe." - Georg A. Read the five star review on Amazon.de
"Thoroughly documented and brilliantly explained" - Bernard Stern Read the five star review on Amazon.com
"Lee provides a fascinating account of what the country briefly looked like under Menshvik rule and how this compared to the regime established by Georgia’s most famous son, Stalin" - Samantha Lomb Read the review in EUROPE NOW
"Simply for telling this obscure story well, Lee's book is of great value ... a fascinating book" - Owen Hatherley Read the review in THE NEW SOCIALIST (UK)
"Stirred by his long fascination with Georgia’s history, Lee has written an account of that country’s short-lived experiment as a democratic socialist republic after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 ... As Lee reminds us, this Menshevik-dominated government backed free elections, freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, parliamentary rule and free trade unions." - Joshua Rubinstein Read the review in THE NEW YORK TIMES
"I strongly recommend every political activist read this profoundly useful work of history." - Larry Gulotta Read the five star review on Amazon.com
"This is an important book. It is the first study in English of the Menshevik government in Georgia between 1918 and 1921." - Duncan Bowie, writing in THE CHARTIST (September-October 2017)
"Eric Lee, thank you for sharing your knowledge & enthusiasm in such a readable way." David Shai Read the review on Amazon.co.uk
A "well-written window into revolutionary Georgia."- S.E. Slye Read the five star review on Amazon.co.uk
"A fascinating account of a little-known experiment in social democracy." - Roger Darlington Read the five star review on Amazon.co.uk
"Covering a crucial but strangely overlooked period in the fevered evolution of socialism, we've been waiting for this book for a long time. Fortunately, it arrives excellently written and researched." - Peter Nasmyth, author of Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry
"In a clear and succinct style, Eric Lee paints a sympathetic portrait of this remarkable experiment in democratic socialism. Lee has brought this almost unknown story out of the shadows, giving it its proper place in the historiography of socialism and the Russian Revolution." - Stephen Jones, author of Socialism in Georgian Colors
"A sympathetic, lucidly written and politically literate account of the first Georgian republic, which makes exhaustive use of the accounts of foreign observers as well as some of the major leading figures." - Donald Rayfield, author of Stalin and His Hangmen
"Eric Lee has skilfully shown in this thoroughly-researched book how a century ago Georgia created the first democratic socialist republic -- and laid the basis for Georgian democracy today." - H.E. Ambassador Tamar Beruchashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to the United Kingdom