Nobody, least of all the Bolsheviks, expected Russia to become the world's first Communist state. It was the random forces of personality, luck and mischance that created 1917. The incredible year of "Comrades" begins with the murder of Rasputin, the mad monk, by an Oxford-educated transvestite and the collapse of Old Russia and ends with the creation of the secret police and the slide into dictatorship. In a narrative style, this book chronicles the February Revolution that began with an obscure labour dispute and led to the Tsar's abdication later in the month, Alexander Kerensky's descent into chaos during the summer turmoil, Lenin's flight to Finland when he thought the game was over and the Red Terror that followed.
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A tightly focused narrative of the year that Russia overthrew the Romanovs only to fall under the yoke of another despotic government. Moynahan (Claws of the Bear, 1989), former chief foreign correspondent of the London Times, has not uncovered any new material about the birth of the USSR, but he presents familiar information with an eye for the lively anecdote as told by eyewitnesses. In his view, although the overthrow of the well- intentioned but weak Czar Nicholas II and his dominating wife Alexandra may have been inevitable, the eventual triumph of the Bolsheviks was anything but. The usual pivotal events of the Revolution are chronicled--including the murder of Rasputin, the February Revolution, the March abdication of Nicholas, the Communists' abortive summer coup, the supposed threat from the military that allowed them a comeback, the October Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power, and the fateful formation of the Cheka, the first instrument of Soviet-sponsored state terror. Among the large cast of characters here, two stand out: Alexander Kerensky, the charismatic but vacillating revolutionary and eventual prime minister who let his democratic government be whipsawed by four cabinet changes in six months, economic deprivation, and unsuccessful participation in WW I; and cowardly, fanatical V.I. Lenin, who transformed the Bolsheviks from the most marginal of Russia's splinter groups to the only one by year's end, chiefly through ruthlessness (``How can you make a revolution without executions?'' he scolded colleagues after a vote abolishing capital punishment). A cautionary tale to be remembered as the infant Commonwealth of Independent States tries to remain democratic and economically viable without veering between anarchy and a new, yet unknown dictatorship. (Maps and b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Moynahan's spellbinding chronicles of Russia in 1917--the year of Kerensky's fumbling provisional government and the Bolsheviks' October coup--ranks among the most vivid books to date on the Russian Revolution. Former London Times foreign correspondent Moynahan ( The Claws of the Bear ) describes his material in concrete, human detail: Kerensky's brilliant mocking of Lenin ("Karl Marx never proposed such methods of oriental despotism"); women lined up on icy nights from 3:00 a.m. until the shops opened at 9:00, after which they labored all day; Lenin, "obsessed with violence," a thug full of hatred who dehumanized his enemies as "harmful insects . . . bedbugs"; the 1916 murder of Rasputin, "the Unmentionable"--his name seldom pronounced aloud for fear it would bring bad luck--by a young aristocrat who dabbled in transvestism and the occult. The author conveys the weft and warp of Russia's tattered social fabric as few others have done. He illumines the rottenness of the old regime and the evil brutality that replaced it, showing how the Bolsheviks ruthlessly crushed the centrifugal forces that reasserted themselves in 1991 to shatter the Soviet monolith.
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Book Description HUTCHINSON, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 91773563
Book Description Hutchinson, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091773563