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The Russian Revolution (1958)

de Alan Moorehead

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The Russian Revolution dismantled the ancient Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, and the old regime was replaced in February 1917. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist) government. The Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, appointed themselves as leaders and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to quash dissent. To end Russia's participation in the First World War, the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. Civil war erupted among the Reds (Bolsheviks), the Whites (anti-socialist factions), and non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. In this book Alan Moorehead gives a brilliant account of these formative events. Written in the 1950s, this not only remains the most readable account of the revolution, but sheds fascinating light on the Western view of the Soviet Union at the time.… (més)
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A good general history of the Russian Revolution, from the last years of Nicholas to the Bolshevik triumph. Very readable, even a quick read, with enough detail to be interesting and provide a good history without getting caught up in unimportant side issues. It may be outdated - it's from 1954 and presumably more detail has emerged that might slightly change or amplify some of the events - but as a general history it stands up well. If this is a topic that interests you as a casual matter, then this is definitely a solid choice.
  TBergen | Jan 14, 2018 |
761. The Russian Revolution, by Alan Moorehead (read 31 Dec 1963) This is a good treatment of the topic, I think. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 8, 2013 |
The Russian Revolution paints a clear and detailed picture of what Russia was like in the decade leading up to the revolution: the economic condition, the bureaucracy of the Czar's monarchy, the strikes and street demonstrations, nihilism, peasant uprisings, and repression of the Jews.

This was the era of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Turgenev , yet most of Russia was illiterate, and isolated from the West. Even the university students had little exposure to world cultures especially in the fields of political science and philosophy. Yet, during this time the revolutionary movement was being crudely formed.

Approximately 15 million men had been recruited to the Czarist army," to fight World War I, many of them sent into the trenches without proper clothing, without boots, and even sometimes without a rifle."

By the year 1916 millions of soldiers had died, and most families lived on less than $150 a year in single room huts facing food shortages and extreme hardship; no bathhouses, no soap, and no medical attention of any kind.

This book chronologically tells the events that led to the 1917 revolution:
Marxism and the key players: Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin.
It explains how several different political parties competed for power.
It tells how Lenin, a fugitive in exile, hiding from persecution, became the leader of the Bolshevik party, and ultimately the communist country Russia.
And it expands on the role Germany played in the revolution.

The book is crammed full of interesting facts. For example: Germany invested approx. 1 million marks in the Bolshevik party, and aided Lenin in secretly returning to Russia and seizing power with the agreement that he would end the war. Churchill was quoted as saying "Germany turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia."

And in the end the book tells how Lenin betrayed his party and his country. His rhetorical promises of equality and a Constituent Assembly of Citizens (freely elected parliament) were thrown by the wayside as the new communist government party took over all government agencies, ownership of all land, the banks, the gold supply, the press, utilities. The stock market was "swept away" and so were all rights of inheritance. Church lands were confiscated and religious teaching was forbidden in schools. "The state religion was now Leninism". No Constituent Assembly. No votes. No freedom of speech. No debates. No discussions. No freedom - period. A tragic outcome!

Of course, everryone already knows the outcome of the Russian Revolution, but this book gives the reader the feeling that they are actually living through it. An exceptional, passionately written documentary. ( )
1 vota LadyLo | Mar 24, 2008 |
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The Russian Revolution dismantled the ancient Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, and the old regime was replaced in February 1917. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist) government. The Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, appointed themselves as leaders and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to quash dissent. To end Russia's participation in the First World War, the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. Civil war erupted among the Reds (Bolsheviks), the Whites (anti-socialist factions), and non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. In this book Alan Moorehead gives a brilliant account of these formative events. Written in the 1950s, this not only remains the most readable account of the revolution, but sheds fascinating light on the Western view of the Soviet Union at the time.

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