In the four years following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 the territory of the former Russian Empire was torn apart by a brutal civil war in which the Bolshevik 'Red' forces fought against an assortment of anti-communist forces collectively known as the 'Whites'. It is estimated that over four million people died during the Russian Civil War and its outcome dramatically altered the economic, social and political landscape of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East. More than 20 countries directly participated in the conflict [including Great Britain whose soldiers fought alongside the White forces] and hundreds of millions more people would be affected by the consequences of the Reds' ultimate victory as they "unleashed the new doctrine of communism, with its concept of international revolution upon the world".
Packed with important facts and figures and lavishly illustrated with numerous pictures, photographs and maps, this offering is definitely one of the better books in the Essential History series. While the school textbook-style presentation may not be to everyone's taste [and will be too superficial for those seriously interested in the subject] it is ideal for anyone who wants to acquire a basic, yet comprehensive, understanding of the Russian Civil War in a few hours. In addition to the detailed coverage of the war from a military perspective, with its various campaigns, fronts and offensives [including the largely forgotten British involvement], there is also some analysis of the background to the conflict as well as an evaluation of the impact of the Reds' victory on twentieth century history. In keeping with the wider reassessment of the White movement which has taken place in Russia since the fall of communism, the book is generally more sympathetic to the White cause than other books I've read on the subject, although it certainly isn't "White propaganda" in any way, shape or form.