John Reed was an American journalist who published his eyewitness account of the October Revolution, ‘Ten Days that Shook the World’, in 1919. Along with his wife Louise Bryant, Reed travelled to Russia in August 1917 and would witness detailed events of the revolution, including the storming of the Winter Palace. He became known to many leaders of the revolution including Trotsky and Lenin, and for a short while he held status as the Soviet Consul for New York.
Upon return to the United States, Reed was active in defending the Bolsheviks and opposing American intervention in the Russian Civil War. He would go on to help form a left-breakaway from the American Socialist Party called the Communist Labor Party, editing its paper The Voice of Labor.
He eventually re-entered Russia after numerous travel issues and difficulties with European authorities, attending the Communist International congress and other events. In 1920, he died of Typhus in Russia at the young age of 32. He was buried in Red Square beneath the Kremlin Wall – one of the few non-Russians to receive this honour. In the preface to a reprinting of ‘Ten Days That Shook the World’, Nadezhda Krupskaya described Reed as a “passionate revolutionary” whose book reflected “the sentiments of the masses…with astonishing veracity.”