Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now flip flip flip Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 4 November 2017
This book makes a brave and competent attempt to weave together the many different strands of the civil war. There were so many different factions in the White Army - whose objectives and tactics did not always coincide - that the book jumps around, chapter by chapter, from one to another. There is no narrative padding; it's very much a case of "this is what happened, this is when, and this is who it happened to", but I think this would have been a very long book if the author had approached it in any other way.

Despite this, it is readable, there are plenty of photos of the characters involved, and the only negative reviews on Amazon seem to be on political rather than literary grounds.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 8 January 2013
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.
4 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 27 March 2016
It gives you what I it says on the cover, a concise history of the Civil War. If you want a quick overview of a complex and confused series of events this is for you. Any of the topics it touches on could merit a book in itself, but that is not the intention. Yes, the authors sympathies are with the losers but the Reds get a fair press. Edward. Cheltenham
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 21 June 2016
As far as I can tell, not having read any other book on the topic, this seems to be a complete and comprehensive overview of what was a turbulent and confusing period in Russian history. It provided useful context for other reading about this period
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 12 September 2011
This, on the face of it, is a worthy addition to studies of the turmoil that was the early years of the USSR. It isn't a subject often approached from a purely military viewpoint and Osprey deserves credit for commissioning it as part of their generally useful 'Essential Histories' series. However;
This is not a good history book. The author, a professor of history, we are told, must have been exposed to the idea of an impartial view while writing the work that won him his doctorate, yet for some reason he has let all of this go and instead written a paean to the White Army.
The Whites' campaigns are analysed in detail, their leaders' careers are examined and their triumphs charted, yet at no point does similar treatment get applied to their Red opponents. Red atrocities are mentioned at tedious length, yet at no point does the at least equal White taste for rapine and slaughter get a mention (General Shkuro's 'White Wolves', rapists-in-ordinary to Deniken's army, are nothing worse than 'savage opponents' to Nestor Makhno here). The book is lavishly illustrated with White propaganda pictures, some of them produced by emigres twenty years after the event.
The wars of the fringes that made up good sections of the Civil War narrative get very poor treatment. The Russo-Polish war of 1919-20 which merits a book in itself gets shoehorned into less than two pages, the Finnish Civil War gets scarcely more and the organisation, order of battle and equipment of the combatants mysteriously gets no consideration at all.
To make matters worse, there is no further reading list, a first for the Essential Histories series. There is not, in fact, even a skeleton bibliography for this book, so any further attempts at fact checking must be supplied by the readers themselves. As an aside, I reccomend W.Bruce Lincoln's 'Red Victory' or Evan Mawdsley's 'The Russian Civil War', both better by far than this, analytical histories with at least a nod to impartiality in them.
To summarise: polemic, not military history. There are better things to spend your money on.
12 people found this helpful
|33 Comments|Report abuse
on 29 November 2014
To try and summarise what was happening in Russia from 1918-22 is a formidable undertaking. The action reigned far and wide from every point on the compass. From the chaos and bloodshed the Bolsheviks emerged triumphant with virtually all of what had constituted Imperial Russia under their control. There were times when that outcome seemed unlikely as the regime buckled under the strain of assaults from their White Russian opponents backed by a miscellany of Western and Eastern Powers and bits spun off into independent countries.
In the end control of the country's population and industrial core allied with ideological certainty and ruthless unified leadership proved the prevailing factors. It is certainly one of history's greatest what if questions in considering what might have happened if the Bolsheviks had been overthrown. It is hard to believe that the outcome could have been any worse for Russia and the countries surrounding it.
Although the author is more sympathetic to the Whites he gives a lively and readable history of this complex subject. Inevitably there is a degree of repetition and some mistakes ( Sergei Kirov was the assassinated Mayor of Leningrad not Moscow in the 30's ) but overall this is a useful introduction to the subject. I am not sure why so many propaganda pictures are used to illustrate the book, there are plenty of photos that would do the job better.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 1 January 2012
Buying an Osprey title without first seeing it is always a gamble, with some titles being excellent and others going straight to e-bay to try and get some of your money back on it. The Essential Histories series is no exception, however this one is worth every penny, the writing is original and informative and at times reads like a decent novel with colourful and tragic characters and truly epic battles. For me after 30 years of reading military history I look to learn something I do not already know, and there were many moments when I found myself saying 'I did'nt know that'! As an example realising that the German Army got as far as Kiev and the outskirts of Kursk and Tsaritsyn (Leningrad) in the First World War as well as the second was a revelation.Highly recommended and fully deserving the Essential History description....for once!
4 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 15 February 2015
Ok, the Whites were the good guys. Ok, they fought with courage and almost always defeated the enemy. Ok, they murdered very few people, and never raped or sacked. Ok, they did not intend to restore the autocratic regime. Ok, most Russian people loved the Whites. Ok, the whole world got on well with the Whites, and several countries, even convalescent from the devastating WWI, did their best to aid those brave among the brave. And suddenly, on the very last pages, the Reds go and win the Russian Civil War. At the beginning of the book, it is said that the author of is a military historian. But when I see a person making such things I call him/ her an illusionist.
5 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse