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This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. T This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favor of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny.


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This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. T This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favor of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny.

30 review for The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    A concise but surprisingly comprehensive history of the 1917 Revolution. Smith covers 1917 itself- and it's political, economic, social and cultural consequences with rigour. My only criticism that it was light on causes, and often introduced concepts and groups that weren't explained or clearly identified until later in the text. A concise but surprisingly comprehensive history of the 1917 Revolution. Smith covers 1917 itself- and it's political, economic, social and cultural consequences with rigour. My only criticism that it was light on causes, and often introduced concepts and groups that weren't explained or clearly identified until later in the text.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #63), S.A. Smith This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #63), S.A. Smith This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favor of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    For a short introduction, this book was incredibly boring. I am sorry Mr. Smith, did you intend to make me interested in this topic?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wright

    I studied the Russian Revolution for GCSE history. It's a mark of how superficially you learn things at that age that I still learned a lot from this VSI. Chapter 1: From February to October Chapter 2: Civil war and the foundation of the Bolshevik regime Chapter 3: War communism Chapter 4: NEP: politics and the economy Chapter 5: NEP: society and culture I studied the Russian Revolution for GCSE history. It's a mark of how superficially you learn things at that age that I still learned a lot from this VSI. Chapter 1: From February to October Chapter 2: Civil war and the foundation of the Bolshevik regime Chapter 3: War communism Chapter 4: NEP: politics and the economy Chapter 5: NEP: society and culture

  5. 5 out of 5

    Clarence

    I listened to it because my mum was and it was boring so don’t read it

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Webster

    Quite a good introduction. Fair balance between chronological narrative and analysis.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Kerensky

    I didn't approach Oxford's crash course in Russian history with high expectations, and to be fair it's done about as well as it could be, but that doesn't make it good. The Russian Revolution was probably the single most important event of the twentieth century. When you think about the things it directly caused, what it inspired, and how rooted in everything that happened afterwards it became, it becomes clear that this is a very serious topic. Had Nicholas II been a little more conciliatory in I didn't approach Oxford's crash course in Russian history with high expectations, and to be fair it's done about as well as it could be, but that doesn't make it good. The Russian Revolution was probably the single most important event of the twentieth century. When you think about the things it directly caused, what it inspired, and how rooted in everything that happened afterwards it became, it becomes clear that this is a very serious topic. Had Nicholas II been a little more conciliatory in those early years, had he held his nerve in February, had he and his family escaped their gruesome murder into British exile, as there was a chance they might, or, alternatively, had my namesake been a little firmer in putting down those crackpot Bolshevik upstarts in July and August, or even if the woman who shot Lenin in 1918 had aimed a tad better and hit something vital, we would be living in a very different world today. There might have still been a Second World War, but it would have been unimaginably different. There probably wouldn't have been Nazis, there might not even have been any other revolutions in China or Vietnam, and there certainly wouldn't have been a Cold War, which so shaped our lives today. This kind of counterfactual speculation is controversial, but then so is the Revolution itself. It was an orgy of chance, causality and human will all obvious on their own, and together they left a continent and 120 million people rocked by disorder, plagued by war and drought, and ultimately drenched in more blood than perhaps any other state in history. The eventual death toll is as disputed as almost all facts about that ghastly prison camp, as is the direct culpability of the Bolsheviks, but few deny it's in the tens of millions. When we approach the corpus of such a subject, we must bear in mind the controversy. The Russian Revolution is a secret glade concealed behind a thicket of malicious lies. Historians lately have complained about the "tyranny of the archives" neutering their subject, but here archival exploration is an exciting competition to settle old questions and vindicate certain beliefs. The judgement passed on what happened in 1917 is also a judgement on an entire philosophy, a whole way of thinking, as well as the hostile foreign policy of the west for the last 70 years. Interests are involved; tensions run high between the different schools. Exactly what degree of popular support did the Bolsheviks have in October? How did your average worker feel about the war of words going on between intellectuals in the Petrograd Soviet? What the hell was Kornilov thinking? How did it all go so wrong? A century later, and still the debate rages. The people who sponsor these Very Short Introductions presented S.A. Smith with an unenviable task. He had to tell the story of the Revolution(s?) to people who had never looked into it [them?] before -- in fact they were probably groping for things to read on long flights -- and who might not even be that interested in history, he had to explain its legacy and enduring appeal, he had to walk the reader through the polar-opposed interpretations, and he had to do it all in 160 pages, without even any references. It isn't that he failed: it's just that what he was being asked to do was silly. It's rather like commissioning Michael Morpurgo to write a children's version of War and Peace -- why? The Very Short Introductions series runs into criticism for, in the words of another reviewer, dumbing down serious topics. I am more lenient. Personally, I think it's better to breeze through an academic's book, however simplified, than to go completely ignorant, or worse still to absently-mindedly watch an animated 6-minute YouTube video, which is the alternative these days. It's wrong to take an elitist attitude to learning and declare that one must assault the subject with complete commitment or else leave it alone. Not everyone has the time or the disposable income to lounge idly in a library all day with half a rainforest stacked up around their desk. But some things are just irreducibly complex. Feminism, the Blues, H.I.V. and quantum theory are all titles in the 500-strong Very Short Introductions series, yet one of these things is not like the others. Concepts and events need to be simplified to dangerous degrees -- one can absolutely come away with the wrong impression. In general, events are summarized here far better than in Sheila Fitzpatrick's book, which should absolutely be avoided, but even so there are critical omissions. The crucial love-hate dyarchy of the Soviets and Provisional Government, for instance, which resembled a couple who violently fall out, maybe even exchange blows, but then refuse to leave each other because they can't survive alone, is worryingly under-mentioned. We get only a brief analysis of where the two came from, a sentence or two about the coalition formed in May, and a couple of dubious lines about how the war bonded them together. The Soviet's refusal to sanction an investigation into the Bolsheviks after the July Days, and its role in ripping my namesake apart from Kornilov, and in convincing Kornilov the government was unfit to rule, go completely unmentioned. There's disturbing generalizations, too. Smith falls into the classic trap (or does not have the space to properly explain the full story) of portraying Miliukov's April note as a reaffirming of the Provisional government's commitment to fight the war to victory and afterwards claim the Straits as payment, which angered the war-weary population (actually the Soviets got Miliukov to give up the Provisional Government's claim to the Straits, but at the same time as he announced this change of plan he wanted to reaffirm Russia's commitment to fight the war to victory, and the vagueness of the words used in the note was what incited the riots). Smith also asserts that Bloody Sunday destroyed the autocracy's peasant support (not for long), that most socialists wanted a speedy peace (debatable), that the Russian people were sick of fighting and wanted it to end (they were sick of losing and starving, but anti-German discrimination and patriotism both remained strong until the failed summer offensive, whereupon the army totally disintegrated), and that ultimately the Bolsheviks had little choice about war communism and can't be blamed for the massive loss of life that ensued (still extremely contentious). He's more sympathetic to the Bolsheviks than I would be, too, but that is the attitude of most historians today and he hardly worships them, so I'm not fuming about the odd excuse for this famine or that butcher's fair. What I do think is egregious is the omission of German support for Lenin and his cabal, both in transport back to Russia and subsequently financial. The bald fanatic was arguably the best investment the Kaiser ever made, and I think it's an important nugget of history that shouldn't be forgotten. I mean, Smith had the space to rattle on about every single autonomous bit of territory in the Russian Empire during the civil war (except Makhnovia, which was the only interesting one), but not this? Come on! In the final analysis, what we have here is about as good as it could be under the requirements. I don't want to be too harsh. But pay close attention to the title, because it's no more than that.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Riley (runtobooks)

    i really enjoyed this! was such a nice refresher and overview of a part of history i haven’t touched at all since my early days of undergrad. i feel much better situated to start my buddy read of ‘doctor zhivago’ with maddie next week!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Francesco

    As many other books in the Oxford series, this introduction can be useful for someone new to this subject but it lacks deeper substance and analysis. Be careful about the clear political slant against the revolutionary spirit that permeated those years. Is the author afraid it could happen here soon?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mats

    The Russian Revolution is by all standards one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. Steve Smith's The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction offers a brief overview of the historical events that took place in 1917 and shaped the decades that followed—from the overthrow of the tsarist empire and the establishment of the dual power system in February-March 1917 to the deposition of the Provisional Government in October 1917 and the resulting civil war that brought the Bo The Russian Revolution is by all standards one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. Steve Smith's The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction offers a brief overview of the historical events that took place in 1917 and shaped the decades that followed—from the overthrow of the tsarist empire and the establishment of the dual power system in February-March 1917 to the deposition of the Provisional Government in October 1917 and the resulting civil war that brought the Bolshevik regime to power. However, what makes Smith's narrative so particularly interesting is not so much that he manages to capture the complex historical facts so clearly and concisely as the fact that, in the process, he manages to give insight into how different groups and ordinary individuals experienced the Russian Revolution in their own way. Nowadays, with the cruelties of Stalinism in the back of one's mind, it can be hard to imagine the sincere hope for a better life that the Russian Revolution invoked in so many. Smith is very well aware of this and throughout this book he reflects on the question how these two different images of communism – one offering hope and equality and the other dealing in fear and oppression – can be reconciled. The essence of his answer seems to be that we should not view Bolshevism as a monolithic and unchanging entity. We are wont to view the Bolsheviks’ ideology as the determining factor that laid out their course of action in these early years of Soviet rule, while in reality the Bolsheviks’ actions were also based simply on improvisation and pragmatism: Bolshevik idealism, at every moment, interacted with structural and circumstantial pressures. What is more, the meaning of communist ideology changed vastly over time, was interpreted differently by different political factions and social groups and was even a matter of contention among Bolshevik party leaders themselves. We all know how the history of Soviet communism ended, but – this is one of the key messages I took from Smith – that does not mean that there were no alternative courses of action. Lenin already strongly relied on the use of force and showed considerable ruthlessness and intolerance toward those opposed to the Bolshevik ideals, and yet the assumption that communist ideology inexorably leads to repression at a scale seen under Stalin's rule is radically simplistic. All-in all, Smith's book captures the complexities of the Russian Revolution remarkably well considering its brevity. Throughout the study, different levels of analysis are interwoven: Smith examines a) the historical facts of the Russian Revolution, b) how these historical events were experienced by contemporaries, and c) the significance these events hold for us today. The one note I would make is that, although Smith mentions the perspectives and interests of other groups (Whites, peasants, the Bourgois, etc.), he still mainly focuses on the narrative of the dominant group, i.e. the Bolsheviks. In the end, however, this book provides exactly what it says in the title: a Very Short Introduction. If you are interested in learning more about the Russian Revolution and the historical debates surrounding it or, like me, want to refresh your knowledge about this topic, this is the perfect starting point.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Theodore

    The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction is a very intelligent, heady read. At times it was difficult to follow due to the author narrating multiple events that were happening in parallel. That said, I'm certain anything you needed to know about the formation of Soviet Russia, from Lenin to the Checka, to the use of terrorism as policy by the Bolsheviks, you'll find it. What I learned while reading: Communism is Socialism with guns, and neither is good for a civil society. The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction is a very intelligent, heady read. At times it was difficult to follow due to the author narrating multiple events that were happening in parallel. That said, I'm certain anything you needed to know about the formation of Soviet Russia, from Lenin to the Checka, to the use of terrorism as policy by the Bolsheviks, you'll find it. What I learned while reading: Communism is Socialism with guns, and neither is good for a civil society.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emy

    Written by my old tutor at Essex in a clear and accessible style. I loved his lectures and this book carries a lot of the passion he gives in real life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Not bad. Although those who seek to their save money should instead buy Sheila Fitzpatrick's introduction on the topic, as it is just as readable and less brief. Not bad. Although those who seek to their save money should instead buy Sheila Fitzpatrick's introduction on the topic, as it is just as readable and less brief.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve Mitchell

    Does exactly what it said on the cover

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bob Mobley

    The Russian Revolution, written by Steve Smith, is a remarkably focused and concise examination of the convoluted twists and turns that became the launching pad for the Bolsheviks as they sought to change Russian history and its culture. The book is a very good starting point for individuals who would like to pursue in greater depth the various components and complex forces that were at work during and after the Russian Revolution, leading up to the establishment of control of the country and th The Russian Revolution, written by Steve Smith, is a remarkably focused and concise examination of the convoluted twists and turns that became the launching pad for the Bolsheviks as they sought to change Russian history and its culture. The book is a very good starting point for individuals who would like to pursue in greater depth the various components and complex forces that were at work during and after the Russian Revolution, leading up to the establishment of control of the country and the “Party” by Stalin. There were so many different forces at work during the Russian Revolution that it takes a concise overview to be able to set up a template, allowing an interested reader to successfully navigate all of the complexities that are part of the Revolution’s history. I recommend Steve Smith’s book as a superb starting point and doorway into this challenging and monumental event that changed the 20th century and is still at work with its influences on the 21st century. The Bolshevik Revolution brought with it calamity on a scale commensurate with the transformation in the human condition that it sought to achieve. It is easier for us today to appreciate the challenges and perceptions under which the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution were laboring to achieve their goals. In many ways, the Russian Revolution is one of the great legacies of unintended consequences that came out of the First World War, that changed the map of Europe, as well as the Middle East. These legacies of change are still at work and it is probably a fair assessment to say that the Russian Revolution’s impacts have not yet come to a conclusion. There will be elements of the Russian Revolution that will continue to inspire numerous leaders and populations that are seeking self-expression and independence in emerging parts of the world. This will be in spite of the fact that the excesses of the Russian Revolution continue to wave the “red flag” of warning to those who seek to change societies in a cosmic manner, and end up with completely unintended consequences.

  16. 5 out of 5

    M. Ashraf

    This summarize the book "The story we have traced has been in part one about how possibilities opened up in 1917 were steadily closed off. As early as January 1918, key components of the 1917 revolution - power to the soviets, workers' control of production, the abolition of a standing army - were jettisoned. By 1921 the Bolsheviks no longer saw the working class as the agent of revolution, but the party-state and the Red Army. ... It was structural more than it was ideological." "It seems safe t This summarize the book "The story we have traced has been in part one about how possibilities opened up in 1917 were steadily closed off. As early as January 1918, key components of the 1917 revolution - power to the soviets, workers' control of production, the abolition of a standing army - were jettisoned. By 1921 the Bolsheviks no longer saw the working class as the agent of revolution, but the party-state and the Red Army. ... It was structural more than it was ideological." "It seems safe to conclude that there will be elements in the Russian Revolution that continue to inspire, even as there are many that will stand as a dreadful warning." A very good VSI Really like the introduction and the conclusion, The Chapters: Chapter 1: From February to October Chapter 2: Civil war and the foundation of the Bolshevik regime Chapter 3: War communism Chapter 4: NEP: politics and the economy Chapter 5: NEP: society and culture Were O.K but not that great! A very good book nonetheless! Revolution gave rise to a short-lived mood of national unity and optimism. Liberty and democracy were the order of the day. Overnight everyone was transformed from a subject into a citizen, all agreeing that they must organize in order to realize their freedom. In 1917 Lenin spent valuable time developing Marx's notion of withering away of the state. By 1918 Lenin's "State and Revolution" was an irrelevance. Within months, Lenin had come to see the massive strengthening of the state the sole guarantee of advance towards socialism.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Listened to the audiobook. Covers the late 1900s to the mid-late 1920s, the late Czarist period through the Red-White civil wars and the revolution, the formation of soviets, the NEP, Lenin's death, up to Stalin's takeover. Confines itself to internal politics, the various strains of left-oriented revolution in the air at the time, and the ways different factions and personalities appeared, fought, and were subsumed or silenced. Also included are the ways in which the revolutionary identity evol Listened to the audiobook. Covers the late 1900s to the mid-late 1920s, the late Czarist period through the Red-White civil wars and the revolution, the formation of soviets, the NEP, Lenin's death, up to Stalin's takeover. Confines itself to internal politics, the various strains of left-oriented revolution in the air at the time, and the ways different factions and personalities appeared, fought, and were subsumed or silenced. Also included are the ways in which the revolutionary identity evolved over time. It is definitely not a history of the societal structures and conditions that gave rise to the revolution, nor a detailed contemporary history, nor does it attempt any sort of international perspective. Fitting for a Very Short Introduction, and I see S. A. Smith has written a longer history of the same so perhaps I'll try that next. The whole-nother-level horrors of Stalinism are not included, but it mentions his talent, rise, and successful efforts to get loyal allies in place throughout the Soviet Union. The book appeared 11 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, so it has some contribution of formerly suppressed primary source material, most obviously excerpts from many letters sent to newspapers, soviets, etc. from various far-flung areas of the Soviet Union.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon Heatherly

    I recently discovered the Oxford Series of VSI when I was searching the Libby app for books to read during quarantine. I think the physical books are less than 200 pages, and this was certainly a crash course on the events that led to the formation of the USSR. I feel as if such concision inevitably leads to details and nuance being lost, but it was a good first dabble on a subject with which I was previously unfamiliar. A big perk is the reference section which provides further reading from sou I recently discovered the Oxford Series of VSI when I was searching the Libby app for books to read during quarantine. I think the physical books are less than 200 pages, and this was certainly a crash course on the events that led to the formation of the USSR. I feel as if such concision inevitably leads to details and nuance being lost, but it was a good first dabble on a subject with which I was previously unfamiliar. A big perk is the reference section which provides further reading from source material. Quick read, so give it a try.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James

    Excellent introduction on the causes of the revolution and it's success in terms of Marxist ideology. It also analyzes its impact of the revolution on gender, class, vocation, race, and culture in Russia. Finally it touches briefly on the rise of Stalinism; it's roots in Leninism and whether Stalins "Revolution From Above," was necessary to accomplish the goals of creating a true Socialist (Communist) state. Excellent introduction on the causes of the revolution and it's success in terms of Marxist ideology. It also analyzes its impact of the revolution on gender, class, vocation, race, and culture in Russia. Finally it touches briefly on the rise of Stalinism; it's roots in Leninism and whether Stalins "Revolution From Above," was necessary to accomplish the goals of creating a true Socialist (Communist) state.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Another Human

    the book might sound Boring or weirdly Written to many as I have noticed its the common trend amongst the reviews here. let me make it clear that it follows a unique narrative where it puts fact and figures in front of you without rapping it into a narrative set the writer. Enjoyed this book cuz it feels unbiased and at the end of the book, a beautifully written consultation leaves it on the reader to figure it all our on their own. Definitely worth a read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mainichi66

    One reason some reader found this book boring is because its contents are highly condense. One have to read word by word in a sentence and then read the whole sentence again. and sometimes again. it isn't a page turner at all. but such trudge pays too. there are nevertheless invaluable treasures buried inside if one can recognize the parallels in the subject's modern cousins. One reason some reader found this book boring is because its contents are highly condense. One have to read word by word in a sentence and then read the whole sentence again. and sometimes again. it isn't a page turner at all. but such trudge pays too. there are nevertheless invaluable treasures buried inside if one can recognize the parallels in the subject's modern cousins.

  22. 5 out of 5

    EvilRoySlade69

    Smith failed to explain some of the base concepts and terms that were a substantial part of what the Bolsheviks created, and if I didn't have a minor understanding of what they were and meant beforehand it may have been confusing. the problem, it seems, is also that the Russian revolution defies condensation into such a short book Smith failed to explain some of the base concepts and terms that were a substantial part of what the Bolsheviks created, and if I didn't have a minor understanding of what they were and meant beforehand it may have been confusing. the problem, it seems, is also that the Russian revolution defies condensation into such a short book

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathal Kerins

    Snappy, informative, and relatively objective. Sometimes shirks away from controversial topics such as the famines of 1921 to 1923; however, ultimately successful in portraying a snippet of the general Zeitgeist behind some of the political developments during the years from 1917 to the mid-1920s.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Lots of information. Incredibly dull presentation. An avalanche of facts. A difficult read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tomasz

    If you read another books on russian revolution, you won't find anything interesting here. If you read another books on russian revolution, you won't find anything interesting here.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    This book was a bit of a hard read. It provides a straightforward narrative account of the Russian Revolution, and the early formation of the USSR. It has some relevance for the events of today in that part of the world, and provides an historical perspective on current and future issues within the area. Looking at the text, it is hard to see why we would ever think that Russia would allow Ukraine and Crimea to slip out of its control. They are such an important part of the way in which Russia v This book was a bit of a hard read. It provides a straightforward narrative account of the Russian Revolution, and the early formation of the USSR. It has some relevance for the events of today in that part of the world, and provides an historical perspective on current and future issues within the area. Looking at the text, it is hard to see why we would ever think that Russia would allow Ukraine and Crimea to slip out of its control. They are such an important part of the way in which Russia views itself. I liked the description of Russian Futurists, a movement to put the abstract and the aesthetic in art. An avowedly elitist movement that helped to shape the modern Russian education system. It brought home that the term 'futurist' has more than one connotation, and it often amuses me to see a body of students of the future misunderstanding a group of art elitists, simply because of their mutual incomprehension. Of course, that's just me being wicked. As I said, this is a hard read. The payoff for me wasn't huge, but it was positive. I wouldn't recommend this book to any other than the seriously dedicated.

  27. 5 out of 5

    R.M.F Brown

    Critics of the Very Short Introduction series, have long attacked these books for 'dumbing down' serious topics. I beg to differ. Informative, tightly woven, and jam-packed with information, without losing control, this is an excellent introduction for the layman, on a pivotal era of world history. If this brief introduction whets your appetite, then the extensive reading list proves more than adequate to satisfy your intellectual curiosity. And they're pocket size to boot, making them handy for Critics of the Very Short Introduction series, have long attacked these books for 'dumbing down' serious topics. I beg to differ. Informative, tightly woven, and jam-packed with information, without losing control, this is an excellent introduction for the layman, on a pivotal era of world history. If this brief introduction whets your appetite, then the extensive reading list proves more than adequate to satisfy your intellectual curiosity. And they're pocket size to boot, making them handy for reading on the train or bus. With hundreds of topics to choose from, I cannot recommend these books enough.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mouldy Squid

    A very good introduction to the Russian Revolution for the non-specialist or the curious. All the major themes, causes, consequences and evaluations of the Soviet rise to power are explained clearly and concisely. It also serves as excellent primer for those looking to begin a more serious study of the Revolution.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kjn

    A excellent Very Short Introduction. The book gives a good idea of the complexity, or messiness, of the revolution and the enormity of different outcomes that had been possible with different groups struggling for power. And after the civil war the initial idealism turns to pragmatism and then to despotism, all according to the requirements of circumstances.

  30. 5 out of 5

    K

    While very short, this book is a quite in-depth view of the Russian Revolution. It describes the period from the February revolution up to the demise of the NEP in 1928-29. Quite insightful for its size.

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