The Russian Revolution covers Russian history from the rule of Tsar Nicholas through the failed revolutions of the early 1900s to the triumphant revolution of 1917. Colley writes about the civil unrest in Russia at the time and the mismanagement of this by the Tsar, which led the way for revolutionary groups to gain a foothold. We learn how the Bolsheviks (the party of Lenin and Stalin) went from being a small, fringe group of extremists to the rulers of Russia (aided a bit by the Germans, who wanted Russian anarchy). The Russian Revolution also examines the history of Russia after 1917, how the Reds won the resultant Civil War and how Stalin used Lenin's death to maneuver himself into power, even though he was unpopular.
I was actually very impressed with The Russian Revolution. As it was so cheap, I wasn't expecting much from it, but it exceeded my expectations. I was already familiar with a lot of the history (I studied the Russian Revolution for my GCSE History, but that was years ago!) so it provided an excellent refresher. Although there just isn't the space for anything to be covered in depth, there's a good breadth of information and everything is explained clearly and concisely, something a lot of history writers can struggle with.
The Russian Revolution isn't a book to go to if you are looking for analysis or commentary on historical events. It sticks to the bare outlines of what happened and is good for providing a general overview of a topic. I finished the book eager to read more about the Russian Revolution and I'm already scanning my shelves, trying to decide which book about it I will pick up next. If, like me, you're interested in a topic but feel like you need something introductory before reading a more in depth book on it, the History in an Hour series would make a good choice.