Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History

Revolutionary Russia A History From the author of A People s Tragedy an original reading of the Russian Revolution examining it not as a single event but as a hundred year cycle of violence in pursuit of utopian dreamsIn this ele

  • Title: Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History
  • Author: Orlando Figes
  • ISBN: 9780805091311
  • Page: 298
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the author of A People s Tragedy, an original reading of the Russian Revolution, examining it not as a single event but as a hundred year cycle of violence in pursuit of utopian dreamsIn this elegant and incisive account, Orlando Figes offers an illuminating new perspective on the Russian Revolution While other historians have focused their examinations on the cataclFrom the author of A People s Tragedy, an original reading of the Russian Revolution, examining it not as a single event but as a hundred year cycle of violence in pursuit of utopian dreamsIn this elegant and incisive account, Orlando Figes offers an illuminating new perspective on the Russian Revolution While other historians have focused their examinations on the cataclysmic years immediately before and after 1917, Figes shows how the revolution, while it changed in form and character, nevertheless retained the same idealistic goals throughout, from its origins in the famine crisis of 1891 until its end with the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991.Figes traces three generational phases Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who set the pattern of destruction and renewal until their demise in the terror of the 1930s the Stalinist generation, promoted from the lower classes, who created the lasting structures of the Soviet regime and consolidated its legitimacy through victory in war and the generation of 1956, shaped by the revelations of Stalin s crimes and committed to making the Revolution work to remedy economic decline and mass disaffection Until the very end of the Soviet system, its leaders believed they were carrying out the revolution Lenin had begun.With the authority and distinctive style that have marked his magisterial histories, Figes delivers an accessible and paradigm shifting reconsideration of one of the defining events of the twentieth century.

    One thought on “Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History”

    1. Even now the Cold War is over, history writing on the Russian revolution and 20th century Russian communism still is a tricky, slippery path and rises passions. Historians who tackle this inexhaustible subject and try to transcend the dry facts, are imminently classified as rightist of leftist, and their work treated correspondingly. Figes is a bestselling historian, and somehow controversial, both the man and his approach to writing history seem to inspire his fellow academics with some profess [...]

    2. Orlando Figes has written a very readable history of Russia, beginning with the slow decay of the Empire which brought upon the famine of 1891 and the first kindling of fire which would spark the Russian Revolution in the late 19th century, and ending with the revolutions of 1989 and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This isn't a definitive work on this fascinating and tumultuous period of Russian history - it has just 336 pages to cover a whole century, while Figes's own book o [...]

    3. This review is of a book won from First Reads Giveaway program.In college I took a history course by this young professor straight out of professor-school whose specialty, if I remember correctly, was Russian history. He was on loan from the university in town, which is something that happened occasionally at my school because we were small and didn't always have someone to teach certain courses. I do not remember his name (because that's how my stupid brain works), but I do remember we spent a [...]

    4. IRONIC TRIVIABefore the revolution in Russia, Lenin held the Second Party Congress in London at the Communist Club at 107 Charlotte Street in August 1903, which is now the headquarters of the global advertising agency Saatchi and SaatchiRE TRIVIA, LESS IRONICDig this. Mikhail Gorbachev was the first leader since Lenin with a university degree.

    5. Orlando Figes succeeds in presenting a short political history of Russia 1891-1991. He shows the political changes, social upheaval and economic catastrophe but does not flesh out his thesis that Russia was been in a 100 year revolutionary cycle.On P. 286 he says "the real test of a successful revolution is whether it replaces the political elites". This is followed by an analysis of who remained in power after the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union showing that this restructuring was not revo [...]

    6. Terrifying, horrifying, and just fantastic. A masterful history book, compulsively readable.This book covers a really long period (it says 1891-1991 but actually goes all the way to Putin), and given its length it is by necessity more of an introduction to the subject. I'm hooked, though. Figes isn't just a brilliant historian, but also a brilliant writer, and it's not everyone who can say that! I will definitely be reading his much longer "A People's Tragedy", and many books from the excellent [...]

    7. I am not an expert in the field, but I find it curious that the (mainstream) history of revolutionary Russia has been completely monopolised by right wing historians. Although in a different generation from Cold War warriors such as Richard Pipes and Robert Service, Figes is squarely in the same bracket politically. The beginning of his ‘long view’ on the revolution, from 1891 to the consolidation of Stalin’s power, is basically one big lament about the missed opportunities of the 1% arist [...]

    8. FIRST READS REVIEWThe popular historical view of the Russian Revolution is the Bolshevik coup of October 1917 launching the world’s first Communist state; however Orlando Figes offers a new perspective on the Revolution not as a single but a continuous event covering a century of Russian history. In relating this new perspective Figes reveals how three generations viewed and lived the Russian Revolution before it and the Soviet Union collapsed.Beginning with the famine of 1891, Figes describes [...]

    9. Although I am not sure why but I have always had a very big interest in Russian history. When I saw this book, I skimmed it and thought it might make for a good quick read since it covered 100 years in 300 pages.However, I must say that it was tough getting through through the first half of the book because of the way it's written. The author (for good reasons, I am sure) basically names every political group that ever existed during the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917. After awhile, I ha [...]

    10. This book presents a history of Russia from 1891 to 1991, when the Soviet Union went out of business, thus tracing a nice 100 year arc of "Revolutionary Russia". This is a useful way to package the Russian Revolution in a book coming out just in advance of the 100 year anniversary of the October Revolution. Figes is a readable historian and makes a good try at a manageable one volume history of a hugely complex train of events. The novelty here is using the "revolution" as the unit of analysis, [...]

    11. More storytelling than analytical. Figes tends to forget his thesis frequently over the course of his work. While working through Revolutionary Russia one can see why Figes had the idea of a continuous revolution, but one gets the impression that there were either numerous revolutions unrelated to the ones that came directly before each new one, or, instead of, and more realistic, one revolution, there was evolution of what not only the events of 1917 meant but what Communism means. Figes could [...]

    12. A concise but illuminating history of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union. I found the book to be eminently readable, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Russian history or 20th century history.

    13. The workmanlike prose of this book serves well the epic narrative it tells. Capturing one hundred years of impossibly fraught history in under three hundred pages obviously requires a terrific synthesis of sources, events, personages, periods and so forth - and to my novice mind Figes nails it. (Though of course those more knowledgeable about Russian history might prefer a more detailed or thorough analysis of certain aspects of it.)Wafts of nasty, ghastly Trumpism pervade the knuckleheaded tota [...]

    14. I highly recommend this thoroughly researched and incredibly well-written book to anyone interested in the Russian Revolution. This book filled many of the gaps I had concerning pre and post-Stalinst Russia, allowing me to understand the author’s perspective of the revolutionary time frame. Figes makes good sense out of a complicated history. The details are quite accessible, and the text flows easily from one event to the next without getting too bogged in any one area. This steady pace makes [...]

    15. I got this book from the firstreads programme :)History books are tricky. Sometimes you start reading one and halfway through you are not sure if what it says it's true or mindless propaganda. Luckily with this book that was not the case. Orlando Figes presents a very well researched and written book about one of the most interesting centuries in the history of Russia. The book is easily read even by people who know little about that time, and for those who already have some knowledge fills a lo [...]

    16. It is a difficult thing to sift through the obscurantism that so often peppers historic tomes. Figes mostly avoids the trappings of injecting personal politics by providing as much context as possible to each of the key elements of the Russian Revolution. Furthermore, the human element is also included extensively by way of personal accounts by those involved. With a wealth of citations and a zeal for providing an accurate picture of history, both historians and casual readers alike are presente [...]

    17. This book is great for someone who wants a quick overview of Russia from 1891-1991. If you are already familiar with this subject, you will find this book to be too much of an overview. Serious Russian history buffs should skip.

    18. Wonderful introductory text with a broad synthesis and an argument in place written by one of the leading historians of the Soviet Union.

    19. Revolutionary Russia is a short book that aims to give an overview of the entire Russian revolution. It begins with the unrest that made the revolution possible then goes right through the revoltion and out the other end to the rejection of the soviety system and establishing of a democracy (such as it is because Putin) and an opening up to the free market. Revolutionary Russia is a great book to get a passing overview of the period of the Russian revolution. Because it covers such a long time, [...]

    20. A short and very readable narrative history of Russia from the genesis of the revolution in the late nineteenth century through to collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Figes' presents what feels like a fairly standard western liberal point of view. The attempt to build a socialist society was doomed from the start, doomed by the nature of the theory and the bloodthirsty dictatorial tendencies of Lenin and the Bolshevik leaders. The Soviet Union was to all intents and purposes was wholly inferio [...]

    21. Great, informative book. However, pay attention to names, events and terms from the chapters on the 1917 Revolution because the author will continue to refer back to them throughout the book. If you’re like me, and have a hard time remembering Russian names, you’ll have some difficulty remembering what Figes refers to. The author also assumes a rough knowledge of Russian history. Perestroika and Glasnost were both referred to with an assumption the reader knows what they are. Other than that [...]

    22. Figes provides, a thorough, easily read overview of the Russian Revolution as a century long process rather than an event of a couple years as most historians would put it. The factors that lead up to and the long lasting consequences of the initial revolution are made more clear and consequential through this new perspective. Heavily recommended for anyone even casually interested in this period of Russian history.

    23. A perfect book for introduction. Interesting, fast paced, well analyzed and engrossing. Though it takes the story till the breakup of USSR (in fact it even manages to discusse Putin), the period after Stalin's death is dealt in hardly 80 pages.It is a good idea to read this book before starting Orlando Figes' magnum opus 'A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924'!

    24. When I started this book, I wasn't sure what I was actually getting into. It was an amazingly well-written, and detailed explanation of a century of Russian history. Very enlightening, and an excellent read!

    25. Solid book. Easy to read and very detailed and informative. The author spends an understandably long time on the Stalin era but everything after that seems some what rushed. After reading the book it’s easier to understand the events which led to such a brutal regime coming to power.

    26. Good for nonfictional history. Enough detail to stay interesting but not enough to get bogged down. Seems like a great introduction or jumping off point for more detailed study of Russian history or any of the periods covered.

    27. Good introduction to the Soviet period of Russian history, but I had trouble getting beyond what I know about the author's problematic antics.

    28. A very interesting and brief history of the Russian Revolution. It does assume a certain familiarity with 20th century Russian history but if you know the basics already this is a very good read.

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