‘Tells the story of early 20th century communism through the eyes of those who lived it and felt and believed in it – while also living their entirely normal, rackety, emotional lives’ HALLIE RUBENHOLD, author of The Five
Hotel Lux follows Irish radical May O’Callaghan and her friends, three revolutionary families brought together by their vision for a communist future and their time spent in the Comintern’s Moscow living quarters, the Hotel Lux.
Historian Maurice Casey reveals the connections and disconnections of a group of forgotten communist activists whose lives collided in 1920s Moscow: a brilliant Irish translator, a maverick author, the rebel daughters of an East London Jewish family, and a family of determined German anti-fascists.
The dramatic and interlocking histories of the O’Flahertys, Cohens and Leonhards offer an intimate insight into the legacies of the Russian Revolution from its earliest idealism through to the brutal Stalinist purges and beyond. Hotel Lux uncovers a world of forgotten radicals who saw their hopes and dreams crash against reality yet retained their faith in a beautiful future for all.
Culminating in a queer love story that saw the daughters of the Cohens and Leonhards create an enduring partnership even as their parents’ political visions crumbled, this is a multi-generational rebel odyssey and a history of international communism, one which looks as much to the future as it does to the past.
Maurice J. Casey is a historian based at Queen’s University Belfast. His work focuses on the history of modern Ireland, queer history, and the history of international communism in the interwar world. He holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin, Cambridge University and the University of Oxford, where he completed his doctoral studies in 2020. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University from 2018 to 2019. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications including History Today, the Irish Times and Tribune magazine. Hotel Lux: An Intimate History of Communism’s Forgotten Radicals will be his first book.