Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914 - 1921 1st Edition
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"The excellent Russia in Flames...covers not just the two revolutions and their prelude, but also the civil war that ensued..." -- Wall Street Journal
"This is the first history of the Russian Revolution that takes seriously the fact that Russians were a minority in the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Russian empire. With verve and ambition, Engelstein chronicles the history of war and revolution as they swept across this vast empire. In this centenary year there will be many books on 1917, but none will be as original in conception and as bold in argument as this. This is history written on an epic scale by a historian at the height of her powers." -- S. A. Smith, All Souls College, Oxford, author of Russia in Revolution
"A simultaneously sweeping and focused history of the Bolshevik Revolution . . . A comprehensive, ideologically detached, and enormously enlightening work of Russian history." --Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"[Engelstein] succeeds in presenting a thorough history of these wars and revolutions in an understandable and engaging manner. In this full, richly detailed study, the author effectively argues the Bolsheviks were ultimately triumphant because they focused on power and were more willing to employ violence against their adversaries, and one another, with horrific results."--Library Journal
"Engelstein delivers a clear-eyed . . . account of the difficulties confronting the population, now citizens of a country where "the dream of democracy had been abandoned," and everyone was subject to the "arbitrary swing of the sword.""--Publishers Weekly
"Destined to become the standard English language history of this period." --Mark Edele, Australian Book Review
"Laura Engelstein's magnificent volume provides a fresh and comprehensive...vision of the Russian Revolution. Positives abound...most important is her powerful and metaphorical language." --Slavic Review
"The past year has seen a considerable wave of books on revolutionary Russia, few as good as Russia in Flames, which is likely to become a standard work on the subject." -- Los Angeles Review of Books
"It is meticulously researched and brilliantly written." --Washington Book Reveiw
"Magisterial . . . . Engelstein's monumental achievement is to have wrestled the sprawling ideological, ethnic and social conflicts, the shifting fronts, the coalescing and disintegrating armies and political fiefdoms, and the foreign entanglements into a compelling account of the disintegration of the old empire and the birth of the new." --Times Literary Supplement
"The meticulously researched and fluently written story she relates is, of course, familiar, but is rarely told with the coherence and clarity achieved by Engelstein, who has come up with an unexpected page-turner." --Mark Glanville, Jewish Chronicle
"Through her engaging prose, Engelstein brings clarity to an extremely complex period of Russian history that dramaiclaly shaped the rest of the twentieth century." -- Army History
About the Author
Laura Engelstein is Henry S. McNeil Professor Emerita of Russian History at Yale University, where she served as chair of the History Department, and Professor Emerita at Princeton.
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Sadly, she forgot this and instead gives to the reader a bone-dry litany of fact piled upon fact, without a hint of emotion. Despite my love of Russian history, especially of the period here covered, I could not get past the halfway point.
That said, this is not a light read and readers not generally familiar with Russia and its revolution might find it to be rather heavy sledding. Figes' "A People's Tragedy" would probably be a better place to start for those interested in the Russian Revolution.
As an aside, there are some *glaring* errors in this book. The author says that Grand Duke Nikolai was “at least 2 feet taller than (Tsar) Nicholas”. Wikipedia as Nikolai was 6’-6”, which by the author’s reckoning would make the tsar 4’-6”, at most. Absolutely not. Then later in the book, she refers the acquisition of Baku by Peter the Great in 1824- which is weird, since he died in 1725. These sorts of things really ding the author’s credibility, as well as the editor’s. In a history book, they are inexcusable.