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Mbling and being replaced In the process she provides a dynamic sense of the play of personalities and agendas that set Russia on a course of self destruction and reinvention and on a scale previously unimagined Russia in Flames will join the ranks of works by Orlando Figes Simon Sebag Montefiore Timothy Snyder and Richard Pipes a major defining exhaustive and exhilarating account of war and revolution as they were unfolding and as one of history's greatest empires was dissolving and reforming itself before the eyes of the wor. I generally love academic history books and am very interested in World War I and it s aftermath in both Russia and Germany so expected to enjoy this but was disappointed It is poorly written very badly edited repetitive and disorganized If I read one And rightly so I think I ll scream The reference to the Russian Black Sea fleet as the Baltic fleet repetitively so not just a typo the misspelled words most due to letter missing and the endless thumbnail bios lasting no than 3 or 4 sentences so not containing any real info other than where the subject was born tell me that Oxford really fell down on this one

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Russia in Flames War Revolution Civil War 1914 1921

In 1913 the Romanov dynasty celebrated its tercentenary three centuries of autocratic rule over one of the world's mightiest and most expansive empires Four years later the monarchy lay in ruins and a brutal struggle had begun to fill the vacuum of power The Russian Revolution utterly re shaped the landscape of the twentieth century To mark the centennial of this epochal event distinguished scholar Laura Engelstein offers a full history of not just the February and October Revolutions but the critical period surrounding and gi. This book has some real strengths Laura Engelstein s analysis of events leading up to the February Revolution and then what happens between February and October is superb Her chronology is clear managing to avoid confusing the reader who must track so many individuals and competing groups with similar and always changing names She also finishes on a strong note The final chapters about the war against the peasants are memorable the forced reuisition of grain the Bolshevik consolidation of power etc Engelstein is also at her best when she places the events in the context of Marxist ideology along with contemporary attempts to shape and see events through that prism In the final analysis Leninism was an authoritarian form of socialism and Lenin can be seen as a counter revolutionary because he crushed the true social democratic revolution of February 1917 50 million people voted in the Constituent Assembly election for multi party pluralism in favor of single party authoritarianism As for Marx his theories had to be refined by the Bolsheviks in order to make them work But the proletariat had to lose than mere chains There was a diverse socialist milieu in Russia the Bolsheviks bid for power was a long shot but the author demonstrates how Lenin s group managed to beat the odds It leaves the reader wondering what could have been Russia was not destined to endure a century of Communist hardshipThe socialist milieu extended to the peasantry who may not have been interested in the finer points of Marxist theory Nevertheless they moved in a socialist bottom up direction in their appropriation of large landholders property and decision to form peasant collectivesThis book also has some weaknesses It was almost all political history Sheila Fitzpatrick s Everyday Stalinism was excellent because it showed how ordinary people who got swept up in these enormous events managed to survive Engelstein s focus is almost entirely political The middle chapters on the Russian civil war and developments on the Imperial periphery the revolutions and wars in the smaller countries between German and Tsarist Russia were difficult to follow Engelstein admits the historian s task here is difficult so many names so many groups always changing their allegiances and titles It was hard to follow then Imagine the task of a scholar immersed in the literature Engelstein may simply have tried to fit too much into one volume but her aim in her magnum opus was to explain a continuum of violence from 1914 through the early 1920s the war population dislocations revolutions and civil wars all part of a larger pattern of state dissolution that in the end was barely mastered by one group the Bolsheviks at enormous cost to humankind

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Ving rise to them beginning with the outbreak of World War One and following through until the end of the civil strife seven years of violence and chaos that finally left the Bolsheviks in command of the field With fresh eyes and narrative verve backed by a lifetime of scholarly work in the field Engelstein's account offers new perspectives on the events that led to the fall of the old order and ultimately the creation of the Soviet state a way of looking at the institutions and structures of power that were simultaneously cru. This is a sweeping detailed account of 7 key years in Russian history 1914 1921 which for me at least put together the various facets leading to the fall of the monarchy and the triumph of the Bolsheviks into a coherent pattern And there are many facets many details and angles examined in this exhaustive but fascinating volume The upshot at least as I gathered it is that despite the idealism that drove the liberals and the social revolutionaries in the decades preceding the revolution many of whom had in mind a version of socialism that included democracy Lenin had no interest in democracy and instead used the concept of soviets or councils as cover for his authoritarian ultra conformist system He was trying to build a new society but it wasn t anything like what the majority of socialists in Russia prior to 1917 had in mind The Bolsheviks were a small splinter of the socialist spectrum in Russia yet they had a non dithering determined leader who believed that only a dictatorship with him as dictator could uproot the old order and remake society as he envisioned it It didn t work out as planned and the repression that started then bred resentment and hate vs the regime that eventually resulted in its downfall Since it was never democratic and according to the author that was what the people wanted than anything else that was the symbol of their revolution against the monarchy and the old way the democracy This is a relatively easy to read book and gracefully written at that It is filled with fascinating details on the personalities and histories of the players well known and obscure and for anyone interested in learning about the Russian Revolution or Russian history in general would be an excellent place to start since the Revolution was probably the key turning point in Russian history I ll add the uotes in comments to my review which I will get to shortly But meanwhile I recommend the book to anyone who wishes to gain some insight into this tumultuous and tragic period of Russian history which shaped the country s subseuent development and probably also explains why many of the former Imperial provinces that have broken away since the collapse of the USSR such as the Ukraine and the Baltic States have no interest in re integrating themselves into some sort of exclusive relationship with Russia They were interested in independence and self determination from way back despite the tangled melange of ethnic groups inhabiting these countries with several different ethnic groups inhabiting any given territory and so it s unlikely they ll ever want to rejoin Russia on some affiliation basis


10 thoughts on “Russia in Flames War Revolution Civil War 1914 1921

  1. says:

    Large scale history of the Russian Revolution with an emphasis on its political and military facets Engelstein's book follows the standard narrative in many ways showing how the Revolution came from a near feudal society an

  2. says:

    This book has some real strengths Laura Engelstein's analysis of events leading up to the February Revolution and then what happens between February and October is superb Her chronology is clear managing to avoid confusing the reader who must track so many individuals and competing groups with similar and always changing n

  3. says:

    A sweeping thoughtful and well written history of revolutionary RussiaEngelstein does a great job describing the diverse popular forces behind the revolution and how and why people resisted the tsar the Provisional government and the Bolsheviks She stresses the contingency of events and disputes the idea that the outbrea

  4. says:

    This is a sweeping detailed account of 7 key years in Russian history 1914 1921 which for me at least put together the various facets leading to the fall of the monarchy and the triumph of the Bolsheviks into a coherent pattern And there are many facets many details and angles examined in this exhaustive but fascinating volume The upshot at least as I gathered it is that despite the idealism that drove the liberals an

  5. says:

    DNF at about 55% completion Very dry not keeping my interest and a bombardment of names Life is too shortAs 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 rec

  6. says:

    I wish this were better formatted in that it could have been better as a cohesive narrative but each chapter goes back in time and then works forward Very hard to follow even for someone like me who is well versed in this history

  7. says:

    This book is an exhaustive study of the fall of the Romanovs the February revolutionthe October revolution and the civil war that followed The narrative begins with the unrest of the 1890’s and the Revolution of 1905 The reforms granted after 1905 were basically window dressing and were never implemented as promised Unrest continued against the Tsar These were brought to a head with the advent of WWI and the subseuent loses casualties f

  8. says:

    I generally love academic history books and am very interested in World War I and it's aftermath in both Russia and Germany so expected to enjoy this but was disappointed It is poorly written very badly edited repetitive and disorganized If I read one And rightly so I think I'll scream The reference to the Russian Black Sea fleet as the Baltic fleet repetitively so not just a typo the misspelled words most due to letter missing an

  9. says:

    This is a masterful history by a giant in the field Engelstein provides a single volume history of the Russian Revolution as well as the subseuent Civil War I will say it is a door stopper of a book and demands close attention As someone whose family fled Russia during the Civil War it gave me a much better sense of the horrors inv

  10. says:

    Very good overview of a complex and sometimes confusing era in Russian history Would have liked detailed analysis of the civil war per

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