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Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime Paperback – 1 Mar 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (1 Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679761845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679761846
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.4 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,015,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Back Cover

Taking up the story of the Russian Revolution from 1919, this final volume of Professor Pipe's trilogy discusses the Bolsheviks' attempt to expand their authority throughout Russia and outside. He focuses on the building of the Communist state at home and, beyond the raw struggle for power, on the broader issues of cultural and religious policies. The book ends with the death of Lenin in 1924, by which time the seeds of Stalinism were well sown.

"A major work of modern history – a book that for the first time recounts the horrific saga of the Bolshevik Revolution from a morally credible perspective… It gives us in fact an immensely rich and variegated account of virtually every aspect of the fateful upheaval… About this regime 'unknown to previous history' Mr Pipes has written an avowedly 'angry' book which communicates on its every page the author's intense feelings of moral indignation and spiritual horror at the human catastrophe it describes. About time, too"
HILTON KRAMER, 'New Criterion'

"To write about the Civil War at length is very difficult, because it went on everywhere and anywhere, with innumerable actors, and I have never seen it better done… Pipes replaces E.H.Carr quite easily"

"Will enlighten and enrage (the liberal academic establishment)… The chapter on cultural policies is the best short survey of its kind"

"Brilliantly researched and wonderfully readable. Myth after distorted myth falls to his axe, as he hacks his way through the jungle of misrepresentation, and it is a delight to see how effectively the task is completed… It is frankly impossible within the space of a short review to do justice to the magnitude of Pipes' achievement"
NIKOLAI TOLSTOY, 'Literary Review'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Shephard on 2 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is not for the casual reader. Its' 500 pages represent a meticulously researched Labour of Love.

The Author, Richard Pipes, has provided a superb account of what was perhaps the most precarious period of the early Bolshevik/Communist government of the former Soviet Union. Threats to the Party both internal and external are treated in detail. Pipes makes clear that the remarkable tenacity of the Soviet government - ie the Communist Party at its highest levels - in the face of War (both the first World War as well at the subsequent Civil War), famine, revolts by the Church, the peasants, the military and even the industrial proletariat, economic collapse and other threats besides, was due fundamentally to their confrontational, indeed aggressive and inhumane treatment of their own subjects.

In his final chapter he presents an intriguing review of the whole Communist 'experiment' from a post Cold War perspective. It is clear that only the tragic, patient stoicism of the Russian people would allow such a monstrous extension of the same modes of repression as were in place for 700 years under the Tsars to be perpetrated for a further 70 years under the Communists.

If you want to understand how the Soviet Union developed the way it did for nearly seven decades after the demise of Lenin then read this book; your patience will be well rewarded.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, detailed yet expansive survey of the Revolution. 12 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pipes, a former security advisor to President Reagan, has been accused (often) of having a particular ideological axe to grind, viz a deep seated anti-bolshevism, so it is to be expected that his long awaited history of the Bolshevik coup would be critical of Lenin and his associates - and it is. However, Pipes does not lean towards ascribing any greater morality to many of Lenin's opponents and he is uncompromising in the harshness of his judgment over the anti-Bolshevik Whites and the ineffectual socialists. Katkov, Kenez, and Figes recently have produced esteemed works on the period, but Pipes have transcended their works by producing a tome that covers all of the manifold social, political and military events of 1917-1923. Along with Orlando Figes, Pipes characterises Red October as ultimately an incomplete revolution, one which swept away the vestiges of the old aristocratic and commercial order but which was stymied by the resilence of the peasants. It is increasingly recognised that the dreadful collectivization programmes of Stalin were not an aberation, as claimed by leftists, but a continuation of Lenin's policies. By reading this work, amongst others, the legend of the good Lenin and his revolution being somehow hijacked by the villanous Stalin is finally buried. Since the fall of the CCCP new documentary evidence has clarified the true nature of the Soviet Union, and Pipes has taken advantage of this material to support his thesis that Lenin and Stalin were part of a revolutionary continuity. Pipes' grasp of his subject and the inclusion of material in one volume that is unavailable in a score of other works makes this THE book on the period. The full drama of the Civil War is revealed and illuminated as no one else, save for Peter Kenez, has ever done. There are chapters on the new Soviet art, politics, and intrigue. It is recommended that the book be read with Orlando Figes' "A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924", to illuminate this important period in Russian history.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Book No Historian Can Be Without 20 Sept. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is definitely one book that sheds light on the early years of Lenin's regime. This book covers many different aspects of the early regime, from the trials of the civil war to the regime's early attempts to spread communism across the western world. Other aspects included the early education programs of the regime and the government bureaucracy that grew like wildfire. The main time frame of this book is from just after the revolution to about the time of Lenin's death, although many topics extend into the 1930s. One can also pick out the topics that were obvious problems in the early 1920s, yet were still present upon the regime's demise in 1991.
Richard Pipes does an excellent job of providing the reader with a comprehensive view of the early regime - few topics go untouched. More importantly, this book is based on a large amount of factual, documented information, some of which has been made available by the recently opened archives in Russia.
This is one of the most authoritative books I have read about the Soviet Union. In the words of the person who recommended it to me - "You'll understand nothing about the Soviet Union if you haven't read this book."
45 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Almost flawless. 21 Feb. 2003
By Graham Henderson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. It is an extremely important companion to Conquest's "The Great Terror", for it sets the table. And what a feast it is. Many of the people reading this will have grown up like I did in a cold war household. In those days, in Canada anyway, I actually had friends who ardently espoused communism. Who extolled Lenin and even Stalin. Who saw the western democracies as weak, rotten to the core and on their last legs. We all knew people like that.
It was the western media, more than anything else that we had to thank for that. It was dominated by leftists, many of them (as hard as this is the believe) actually in the pay of, or beholden to, Russia. Those who weren't were hopelessly and wilfully blind. For me, one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century was how so many people came to be so thoroughly duped by a murderous gang of thugs who had hijacked the Russian people and sought to take over the world. How was it possible? Pipes tells this story.
And he pulls no punches. He comes from the Thucydidean school of history. He is absolutely unafraid to pass judgement. The first part of the book covers the Russian Civil war from 1918 - 1920. This strange, complex struggle still has yet to have a book length study devoted to it. But Pipes provides the reader with more than enough.
Like Conquest, Pipes is at pains to point out that there was nothing at all organic about the Russian Revolution. It was more of a coup d'etat, stage managed by a tiny cadre of Bolsheviks who had the army on their side. The workers and the peasants, and this is CRUCIAL for our understanding of what happened, had literally NOTHING to do with it.
Once Lenin and his gang were in control (and I use the term "gang" advisedly because they behaved and operated very like a criminal gang), they turned their attention to the rest of the world. They actually believed that their "revolution" was to be followed by a world revolution - which they would supervise. Pipes chapter entitled "Communism for Export" will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
The Russians knew they couldn't control what was written about them unless they controlled WHO did the writing. They did this by refusing the major press agencies access to Russia until Moscow had approved the journalist. The Sunday Times famously stood up to this bullying for decades. Not the New York Times. They sent a pre-approved journalist by the name of Walter Duranty. Ironically, Duranty was an out spoken anti-Communist. But he quickly realised that if he wrote what the Russians wanted, he would have access to inside information - with that would come influence and fame. Better yet for Duranty, he very early on identified Stalin as Lenin's likely successor (at a time which this was not at ALL obvious). He began to eulogise Stalin. He praised collectivisation, denied the Ukrainian famine - and resorted to lie upon lie upon lie. Such was the credulity of the western public and press that he was rewarded for his infamy with the Pulitzer Prize.
He was not alone. Muggeridge reports that all the correspondents voluntarily took their wire stories to the censors to be censored. John Reed, virtually canonised by the movie Reds (a movie which is in and of itself largely a shocking lie), was nothing more than a fellow-traveller blind to every excess of the Bolsheviks. The portrait of him in these pages will have your blood boiling. Randolph Hearst in a signed editorial in 1918 described Lenin's regime as the "truest democracy in Europe."
The point needs to be made bluntly. All of these journalists and fellow travellers have blood on their hands. Had the world stood up to first Lenin and later Stalin, millions, COUNTLESS millions could have been saved.
I have so little room to extol this book. I can only hope that my enthusiasm will in some way prove infectious and draw you to read it. I have focused on one aspect of this book. There is so much more. For example. Pipes makes persuasive case that Communism, Fascism and National Socialism have common roots. That Russian communism was eerily similar to Tsarism (only the Tsarists were more compassionate!)
Very importantly, Lenin comes in for the thrashing that he has so richly deserved all these long years. This zealot has escaped scrutiny for decades - largely because what came after him was so nightmarish. People for some reason like to think of Lenin as a benign philosopher - idealistic and pure - whose dreams were shattered by the evil that was to follow. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING could be farther from the truth. He was a murderer, a mass murderer, just like Stalin. The only difference was one of scale. The fact was that Lenin hated democracy - stamped it out - built a totalitarian dictatorship - and paved the way for one of the greatest monsters of all time. And it is small solace to know that Lenin and his gang of thugs reaped what they sowed. That years later Stalin would literally exterminate them with their own weapons.
Read this Book. It is one of the most important books about the 20th Century you will ever read - and it is filled with lessons that we must take to heart. We CAN learn from history. History teaches us to see patterns - it helps us to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nice continuation from previous books 21 July 2007
By Robert Fishman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a nice finale to Pipes' trilogy on the Russian Revolution. Among this book's most interesting chapters was the chapter dealing with the Russian Civil War. Here, he takes the readers through the "White" movement, which though commanding a considerable amount of resources (including a measure of foreign support) was totally unsuccessful in trying to dislodge the Bolsheviks (who, by Lenin's own admission, were a tiny fringe group). Pipes goes to lengths to discuss how the Whites were poorly organized in terms of administration. Moreover, he points to their ridiculous insistence on restoring a unitary state within Russia. This alienated anti-Bolshevik elements among Russia's "national minorities." He also looks at often-repeated accusations that the Whites were a heavily anti-Semitic movement. While conceding that the Whites definitely had more than a few anti-Semites in high places, he argues that many of the pogroms that were conducted against Jews at this time were carried out by vigilante groups only loosely associated with the Whites (i.e., certain Cossack groups). Another interesting chapter deals with the connection between Communism and "Fascism." Here, Pipes goes far toward debunking the cherished myth that these 2 ideologies were polar opposites. Rather, he argues, Fascists (especially Hitler) borrowed many of their organizational strategies from the Bolsheviks, and had a similar view of the "revolutionary totalitarian state". Finally, Pipes continues a running argument that Bolshevik (and Stalinist) totalitarianism had very deep roots in Russian soil, something that is critical toward understanding the development of the Soviet Union.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Eric Rachut - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dr. Pipes's series of books on Russian history, with emphasis on the Bolshevik coup d'etat, is excellent - especially his revelations of Lenin's character and actions, for those who would blame it all only on Stalin.

Unfortunately, this volume came out just as Hermann Rauschning's "memoires,"
most often entited "Hitler's Speaks" or "The Voice of Destruction," were conclusively shown to be concocted (their author admitted as much before he died in Oregon in the early 1990's - see articles in Der Spiegel). Rauschning is the source of quotations from Hitler cited in the fifth chapter to bolster Dr. Pipes' very valid contention that Bolshevism was the spiritual basis for National Socialism.
The chapter should be rewritten - but only that chapter.

Towards the end of "Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime" comes this memorable statement: "Communism failed because it proceeded from the erroneous doctrine of the Enlightenment, perhaps the most pernicious idea in the history of thought, that man is merely a material compound, devoid of either soul or innate ideas, and as such a passive product of an infinitely malleable social environment. . .he cannot pass on the lessons he has been forced to learn to his children, who come into this world ever fresh, asking questions that are supposed to have been settled once and for all."
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