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How can we measure revolutionary success & what are the ongoing consequences of the Russian Revolution? A brilliant short book!
on 15 September 2017
Let's leave aside the scandal from 2010 that involved the posting of Amazon reviews under various names praising his own books whilst rubbishing those of other academics. Prof. Orlando Figes is undoubtedly one of the go-to writers when it comes to the Russian Revolution. I loved his 'Peasant Russia, Civil War' title that drew upon Soviet village life archives. A People's Tragedy, using the public narrative of the likes of Rasputin and Brusilov to unravel the social and political history of the time.
So why, having already absorbed such a detailed account of the history, would I buy this 'introductory' tome by the same author? To be honest, mainly because I like his writing style and political perspective but also as I appreciate the argument that the Russian Revolution requires framing across a longer period of time than is usually allowed. So by looking at it from 1891-1991, Figes takes the position that this one hundred years of history is actually the same revolutionary cycle ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Don't expect tons of detail in terms of facts and figures, that would be asking too much of such a short book. What you can expect, and get brilliantly delivered by Figes in this book, is an eminently readable and enjoyable overview of a revolution from the very start to the inevitable finish.