The book deals with the various revolutionary groups active in Russia in the 1880s. The first chapter attempts a definition of Populism, examines the main strategies on which revolutionary activity was based in the 1870s, traces the development of the main organisations of that decade and discusses their relationship to the prevailing theories. The three following chapters examine the history of the organisations of the 1880s in the light of this discussion and against the background of a reactionary political atmosphere, cultural stagnation, despondency in the intelligentsia, and industrial development. The early political activity and sympathies of Lenin are also discussed at some length. The conclusion assesses the significance of the organisations of the 1880s in the larger history of the Russian revolutionary movement.