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Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime Paperback – April 4, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sequel to The Russian Revolution, this latest effort from Harvard historian Pipes traces the formation of the Bolshevik state from the Russian civil war to the death of Lenin.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This new volume further confirms the author's preeminence as a historian of Russia, already established by his now-classic The Russian Revolution ( LJ 11/1/90) and earlier works. The Soviet Union's collapse lends a particular relevance to his work, which has benefited from access to long-closed archives. Covering the period from 1918 to Lenin's death in 1924, Pipes expands upon his indictment of the Soviet leader and his Bolsheviks with a mass of data and crushing evidence. Ending his narrative with the funeral of Lenin, he concludes with a judicious, fascinating essay, "Reflections on the Russian Revolution." This offers a reexamination of underlying trends and mythologies of the revolution, as well as a restatement of Pipes's belief in Russia's patrimonial legacy and its abiding influence. An important, valuable, passionate book for scholars and general readers. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/93.
- R.H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679761845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679761846
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Pipes, a former security advisor to President Reagan, has been accused (often) of having a particular ideological axe to grind, viz a deep seated anti-bolshevism, so it is to be expected that his long awaited history of the Bolshevik coup would be critical of Lenin and his associates - and it is. However, Pipes does not lean towards ascribing any greater morality to many of Lenin's opponents and he is uncompromising in the harshness of his judgment over the anti-Bolshevik Whites and the ineffectual socialists. Katkov, Kenez, and Figes recently have produced esteemed works on the period, but Pipes have transcended their works by producing a tome that covers all of the manifold social, political and military events of 1917-1923. Along with Orlando Figes, Pipes characterises Red October as ultimately an incomplete revolution, one which swept away the vestiges of the old aristocratic and commercial order but which was stymied by the resilence of the peasants. It is increasingly recognised that the dreadful collectivization programmes of Stalin were not an aberation, as claimed by leftists, but a continuation of Lenin's policies. By reading this work, amongst others, the legend of the good Lenin and his revolution being somehow hijacked by the villanous Stalin is finally buried. Since the fall of the CCCP new documentary evidence has clarified the true nature of the Soviet Union, and Pipes has taken advantage of this material to support his thesis that Lenin and Stalin were part of a revolutionary continuity. Pipes' grasp of his subject and the inclusion of material in one volume that is unavailable in a score of other works makes this THE book on the period. The full drama of the Civil War is revealed and illuminated as no one else, save for Peter Kenez, has ever done.Read more ›
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is definitely one book that sheds light on the early years of Lenin's regime. This book covers many different aspects of the early regime, from the trials of the civil war to the regime's early attempts to spread communism across the western world. Other aspects included the early education programs of the regime and the government bureaucracy that grew like wildfire. The main time frame of this book is from just after the revolution to about the time of Lenin's death, although many topics extend into the 1930s. One can also pick out the topics that were obvious problems in the early 1920s, yet were still present upon the regime's demise in 1991.
Richard Pipes does an excellent job of providing the reader with a comprehensive view of the early regime - few topics go untouched. More importantly, this book is based on a large amount of factual, documented information, some of which has been made available by the recently opened archives in Russia.
This is one of the most authoritative books I have read about the Soviet Union. In the words of the person who recommended it to me - "You'll understand nothing about the Soviet Union if you haven't read this book."
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47 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Graham Henderson on February 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. It is an extremely important companion to Conquest's "The Great Terror", for it sets the table. And what a feast it is. Many of the people reading this will have grown up like I did in a cold war household. In those days, in Canada anyway, I actually had friends who ardently espoused communism. Who extolled Lenin and even Stalin. Who saw the western democracies as weak, rotten to the core and on their last legs. We all knew people like that.
It was the western media, more than anything else that we had to thank for that. It was dominated by leftists, many of them (as hard as this is the believe) actually in the pay of, or beholden to, Russia. Those who weren't were hopelessly and wilfully blind. For me, one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century was how so many people came to be so thoroughly duped by a murderous gang of thugs who had hijacked the Russian people and sought to take over the world. How was it possible? Pipes tells this story.
And he pulls no punches. He comes from the Thucydidean school of history. He is absolutely unafraid to pass judgement. The first part of the book covers the Russian Civil war from 1918 - 1920. This strange, complex struggle still has yet to have a book length study devoted to it. But Pipes provides the reader with more than enough.
Like Conquest, Pipes is at pains to point out that there was nothing at all organic about the Russian Revolution. It was more of a coup d'etat, stage managed by a tiny cadre of Bolsheviks who had the army on their side. The workers and the peasants, and this is CRUCIAL for our understanding of what happened, had literally NOTHING to do with it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Fishman on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was a nice finale to Pipes' trilogy on the Russian Revolution. Among this book's most interesting chapters was the chapter dealing with the Russian Civil War. Here, he takes the readers through the "White" movement, which though commanding a considerable amount of resources (including a measure of foreign support) was totally unsuccessful in trying to dislodge the Bolsheviks (who, by Lenin's own admission, were a tiny fringe group). Pipes goes to lengths to discuss how the Whites were poorly organized in terms of administration. Moreover, he points to their ridiculous insistence on restoring a unitary state within Russia. This alienated anti-Bolshevik elements among Russia's "national minorities." He also looks at often-repeated accusations that the Whites were a heavily anti-Semitic movement. While conceding that the Whites definitely had more than a few anti-Semites in high places, he argues that many of the pogroms that were conducted against Jews at this time were carried out by vigilante groups only loosely associated with the Whites (i.e., certain Cossack groups). Another interesting chapter deals with the connection between Communism and "Fascism." Here, Pipes goes far toward debunking the cherished myth that these 2 ideologies were polar opposites. Rather, he argues, Fascists (especially Hitler) borrowed many of their organizational strategies from the Bolsheviks, and had a similar view of the "revolutionary totalitarian state". Finally, Pipes continues a running argument that Bolshevik (and Stalinist) totalitarianism had very deep roots in Russian soil, something that is critical toward understanding the development of the Soviet Union.
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