Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921
“[Beevor] has given us what may be his most brilliant book to date – a masterpiece of historical imagination, in which the tragedy and horror of this colossal struggle is recaptured, in its impact on everyday life as well as its military dimensions, as never before. This is a great book, whose depiction of savage inhumanity speaks powerfully to our present condition.
” Buy now on Waterstones
In 1917 a devastating struggle took place in Russia following the collapse of the Tsarist empire. Many regard this savage civil war as the most influential event of the modern era. Terror begat terror, which in turn led to even greater cruelty with man’s inhumanity to man, woman and child.
The struggle became a world war by proxy as Winston Churchill deployed weaponry and troops from the British empire, while armed forces from the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Poland and Czechoslovakia played rival parts. The incompatible White alliance of moderate socialists and reactionary monarchists stood little chance in the end against Trotsky’s Red Army and Lenin’s single-minded Communist dictatorship.
Using the most up-to-date scholarship and archival research, Antony Beevor, assembles the complete picture in a narrative that conveys the conflict through the eyes of everyone from the worker on the streets of Petrograd to the cavalry officer on the battlefield and the woman doctor in an improvised hospital.
“A masterpiece of history and a harrowing lesson for today. . . Antony Beevor’s
grimly magnificent new book. . . is a hugely complex story and Beevor tells it
supremely well. The book is ground-breaking in its use of original evidence
from many archives.” Noel Malcolm in The Daily Telegraph *****
“What makes the new book so readable is its structure. . . Beevor’s short
chapters break up the action to ensure they are digestible while also pointing a
clear path through the dark fog of this brutal war. . . This combination of clarity
with vividness is Beevor’s defining strength as a historian.” Misha Glenny in The Sunday Times
“My book of the year has to be Antony Beevor’s magisterial Russia: Revolution and civil war, 1917-1921 which brings into harrowing focus four chaotic years in a theatre of conflict stretching from Poland to the Pacific. Often the study of this period centres on politics and ideology, but Beevor depicts the raw reality of its warfare with the skill of a military historian, buttressed by new material from Russian archives. Enfolded into the grander narrative is the experience of its humbler participants and victims, until the confusion and brutality of this time, leaving 10 million dead, attain a vivid and terrible force. It is a great achievement.” Colin Thubron in The Times Literary Supplement
“Antony Beevor’s extraordinary book strips the romance from a revolution too often idealised. . . It’s unmerciful, agonising yet irresistible.” G deGroot, The Times Book of the Year
“Antony Beevor’s Russia: Revolution and civil war, 1917-1921 is an extraordinary book, hugely impressive for its in-depth research, narrative drive and deft analysis of politics and warfare. As this grimmest of civil wars draws to a close, one ends up richly informed but stunned by the scale of human suffering, and contemplating the possibilities of many might-have-beens.” Noel Malcolm in the Times Literary Supplement Read More
“A completely riveting account of how the Russian Revolution, which started with such high hopes and idealism, degenerated into a tangle of civil conflicts marked by hideous cruelty on all sides. Antony Beevor brings his great gifts for narrative and his deep interest in the people who both make history and suffer it to illuminate that crucial period whose consequences we are still living with today.” Margaret MacMillan
“Brilliant and utterly readable” Antonia Fraser
“In Stalingrad, Berlin and The Second World War, Antony Beevor transformed military history by evoking the experiences of those who fought and suffered in some the greatest wars of the twentieth century. Now he has given us what may be his most brilliant book to date - a masterpiece of historical imagination, in which the tragedy and horror of this colossal struggle is recaptured, in its impact on everyday life as well as its military dimensions, as never before. This is a
great book, whose depiction of savage inhumanity speaks powerfully to our present condition.
” John Gray Read More