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Cursed Days: Diary of a Revolution Hardcover – June 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-1566631860 ISBN-10: 1566631866 Edition: 1ST

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; 1ST edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566631866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566631860
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,558,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Valuable...This is not the typical diary of a famous writer, rather, a memoir of the revolution and civil war that captures the political uncertainty of the period. (Frederick H. White Slavic and East European Journal)

A harrowing description of the forerunners of the concentration camps and the Gulag. (Marc Raeff)

Highly readable. (The Washington Times)

An admirable job...this book deserves attention. (Atlantic Monthly)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The previous customer review refers haughtily to the "hauteur" of Ivan Bunin, a "right-wing, upper class novelist." Say what? Bunin, a master of Russian prose, was understandably aghast as he watched the sudden, violent and senseless destruction of the glorious Russian culture. The reviewer sneers that "the folk, in Bunin's opinion, were ignorant, gullible, violent, dirty, and totally unfit to take a hand in government." Well, it sounds like Bunin got it just about right! Just look what the left-wing thugs ruling in the name of "the folk" did to Russia for the next 70 years.
Strangely, Soviet leaders decided that "Cursed Days" was unsuitable for consumption by "the folk." Hmmm... Talk about hauteur! Only in recent years was the publication of this amazing diary permitted in Bunin's homeland, and now - thanks to Thomas Gaiton Marullo's splendid translation - English-speaking readers can finally see that there were some people who weren't fooled in 1917. I just hope that modern readers will read Bunin's prophetic diary of those cursed days... and remember.
Neal McCabe
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Russell Pittman on August 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This day-to-day diary of the confusion and fears that confronted those who lived through Russia's revolutions and their aftermaths in 1917-19 is well worth reading. However, it has its frustrations, especially a) the unremitting tone of hauteur by this right-wing, upper class novelist when confronted by the ascendant working class, and b) the editor's feeling that every rumor reported by Bunin, no matter how outlandish (St. Petersburg has fallen to the Germans; "The Red Army has been chased from Russia") requires his footnote assuring us that "The rumor was not true". Although both are very different in focus from this book, I much preferred Bulgakov's The White Guard, an autobiographically fictional account of his life during the same time period, with the same confusion, in Kiev, and Sukhanov's The Russian Revolution, 1917, an almost hour-by-hour description of the actual government takeovers in 1917.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't recall ever reading a book where the footnotes left the strongest impression. However, "Cursed Days" by Ivan Bunin had that effect on me. The book itself is rather good. It is the author's diary during the period on and after the Russian Revolution. Bunin comes across as something of a monarchist who looks disdainfully on all the rabble that has created this cauldron of chaos. Frankly, I may have reacted the same way, especially given the observations he has compiled in "Cursed Days". I suspect most readers would sympathize somewhat with his perspective as well. I doubt there are many in the 21st Century who look back on the Russian Revolution as one of the major enhancements of the 20th Century (although, whenever there's an international economic summit, it seems to correspond with a convention individuals who probably DO think that highly of the Russian Revolution). Anyway, Bunin's day by day accounting of the facts, rumors, and impressions of the revolt are worth the price of the book. The book essentially comes in three parts; The author's observations in Moscow in 1918, his observations in Odessa in 1919, and excerpts of subsequent writing relevant to the topic of the Revolution. The first two segments generally carry an impression of the near-constant uncertainty that most people faced. There were threats of famine, murder, pogroms, counter-revolutionary backlash, etc.. Somehow, Bunin seems to make do throughout though there are times his own fears are candidly shared. Eventually, he is able to escape Russia although not all of his diary made it with him. I especially appreciated the accounts of the on-going civil war that is probably the least reported aspects of the Russian Revolution.Read more ›
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ivan Bunin would have you believe that the Ancient Regime in Czarist Russia was a kind, benovolent regime. Most historians know that is not the case. Bunin would like you to believe that it is. Bunin records his beliefs on the Russian Civil War. His observation was from Moscow and Odessa. He describes the brutality of the Reds and how they treated people. The Reds may have been more brutal, but both the Czarist and Communist regimes had very difficult problems with respecting human rights. Both killed people.

I found his memories of these days interesting. They should not be read as a disinterested observer of the new order. He was very vocal about the Reds, and viewed the Whites as a hope of mankind (which they were not). However, this story gives a view of the Russian Revolution from a member of a class that lost it all.
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