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. ” John Gray
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Synopsis

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.

Reviews
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United Kingdom
“Beevor, best known for his formidable book Stalingrad, commands authority because his research is comprehensive and his conclusions free of political agenda. He is a skilled writer, but his prose is is not what makes his books special. Rather, it is the confidence that his authority conveys – one senses that he knows his subject as well as anyone. He allows his evidence to speak for itself. . . This is an unmerciful book, agonising, yet always irresistible.” Gerard DeGroot, The Times
“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
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Advance Comment
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“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