Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game - How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot

Russian Roulette A Deadly Game How British Spies Thwarted Lenin s Global Plot In a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin s communist revolution was now underway But Lenin wo

  • Title: Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game - How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot
  • Author: Giles Milton
  • ISBN: 9781444737028
  • Page: 385
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin s communist revolution was now underway But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the tsar His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes starting with the British Empire.Russian RoulIn 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin s communist revolution was now underway But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the tsar His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes starting with the British Empire.Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia whose mission was to stop Lenin s red tide from washing across the free world They were an eccentric cast of characters, led by Mansfield Cumming, a one legged, monocle wearing former sea captain, and included novelist W Somerset Maugham, beloved children s author Arthur Ransome, and the dashing, ice cool Sidney Reilly, the legendary Ace of Spies and a model for Ian Fleming s James Bond Cumming s network would pioneer the field of covert action and would one day become MI6.Living in disguise, constantly switching identities, they infiltrated Soviet commissariats, the Red Army, and Cheka the feared secret police , and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin As Giles Milton chronicles for the first time, in a sequence of bold exploits that stretched from Moscow to the central Asian city of Tashkent, this unlikely band of agents succeeded in foiling Lenin s plot for global revolution.

    One thought on “Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game - How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot”

    1. Беллетризованные приключения английских шпионов в России примерно в 1916–1920 гг. и основание MI6 от прекрасного популяризатора истории и пересказчика. Занимательно, что эта интрига выводится как часть Большой Игры (ибо серьезная коминтерновская угроза Британской Индии), но [...]

    2. A very readable account of the early espionage operation undertaken by the British Empire within Russia both in collaboration with the Tsarist Government and then against its Soviet successor in the period (roughly) 1916 to 1921. It suggests its own sequel so we may expect more.It is popular history and sometimes too obviously reads like a thriller but Milton is a good historian as well as a good writer. His sources are clear and he has managed to weave a broadly truthful story out of difficult [...]

    3. The cold war before it became coldThere’s something fascinating about spies and spy craft. “Russian Roulette” details the genesis of Britain’s Special Intelligence Services (later also referred to as MI6) as it began during the World War I in response to Russia’s Bolshevik movement. At that time Lenin and Trotsky and their cronies were attempting to socialize not just Russia but the entire world. Their first step was to murder the royal family and any citizens who didn’t agree with t [...]

    4. Giles Milton ("Nathaniel's Nutmeg") writes with the infectious joy of your favorite uncle telling tall tales after a snort or two of good bourbon. With "Russian Roulette," Milton uses some real-life British spies as his Good Guys while Lenin and the Bolsheviks wear Black Hats in several tales of risking life and limb for God and country. Anyone who likes their history footnote-free and full of narrative will enjoy "RR."It may be hard to believe in our cynical world, but at the dawn of the 20th c [...]

    5. Interesting factual account of the dealings of British spies against The Soviets during and just after World War I. Some of the material here was only declassified in 2005 so it seems very fresh. Just another reminder that we'll never know the true story of anything that's happening now until years later. The section on the attempted war against British India is especially good. Great stuff! - BH.

    6. Forget James Bond, who never uses disguises, announces himself by name, fights thugs for hours without so much as a scratch and kills a score of baddies with a gun fired over his shoulder yet is never hit, Milton recounts a number of remarkable real spies, the earliest spies in what was to become MI6. Starting with some Russian-speaking Brits in Russia at the time of the revolution, the embryonic organisation very quickly became very proficient at gathering valuable information from inside the r [...]

    7. Enjoyable read about the birth of the British SIS and their first task of trying to slow, or stop, Lenin and his Communist regime. Interesting to see how early 20th century spies plied their trade and survived. It was also interesting to see the different types of "characters" that were employed to be spies. If you enjoy British, Russian or espionage histories, its a good book for you.

    8. This came on a recommendation from a customer. How I wish I could thank him for this gem. I loved every word of it.

    9. A century ago, the opening shots of World War One would be heard and a large part of the world was plunged into war. The United States would at first be neutral but that would change in 1917 with America's entry into the conflict.Germany, as it would do nearly thirty years later, would fight a two front war with Western European powers and the US on one side (The Western Front) and Russia on the other side (The Eastern Front.) However, when Russia, racked with increasing civil turmoil, signed th [...]

    10. An interesting account of British Secret Service activities at the end and following the First World War. I have learned two interesting things:- Sidney Reilly organised to kill both Lenin and Trotsky during the meeting of their Central committee. Unfortunately, just before there was an attempt on Lenin’s life and this changed all the security arrangements. Also, a French journalist of Le Monde informed Russians of the attempt, which forced Reilly to run away from Russia.- Lenin was supporting [...]

    11. This book is the beginnings of the spy network of Britain that became to be known as MI6. The State or local one is MI5. Mansfield George Smith Cumming was chosen to be the man in charge. He was a Navy Officer who had to retire from active service and was selected by Re Admiral Alexander Belthell who was in charge of naval intelligence. On August 10, 1909 the government decided to establish a foreign and domestic secret service with two separate but connected divisions. The foreign would be char [...]

    12. bookreviewsbyme2.wordpressI found this book to be a greatly fascinating and engaging read. I haven't read much on Russia, so this was a fascinating historical read for me.The book tells the history of the Russian Revolution around 1917 and the role that British spies played in thwarting that revolution. The author gives a good amount of background information to the reader before really getting into the particulars of the revolution. This allows a reader who is unfamiliar with Russia's history t [...]

    13. This Bloomsbury Press eBook is rather an odd volume, hard to get into but fascinating all the same. Beginning in 1916 with the conspiracy to murder Rasputin, this part of the book doesn't really seem to belong, but it does straighten out legend from fact about how much it took to kill the priest.The book is more about Lenin's takeover of Russia and his grandiose plots to spread his revolution throughout Afghanistan and the other -stans, as well as India and beyond. He would stir up the various r [...]

    14. Near the end of the First World War, the British government (HMG) created an investigative group called the “Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)” to spy on the Germans. Part of this group was stationed in Russia in order to help the Tsar’s military with information as to German troop movements. Though mostly involved with intercepting wireless (radio) transmissions, a human intelligence network was put in place. When the Provisional Government overthrew the Tsar, the SIS stayed in place to f [...]

    15. When written well, a book can bring history to life, but as non-fiction it can also send a reader to sleep if it is not written so well. ‘Russian Roulette’ has everything going for it; it is a book about the high tension period of history were British spies infiltrated Russia to try and undermine Lenin and co. Author Giles Milton has obviously got his hands on some pretty dense archive material because this is a book that follows the facts, sometimes down some unnecessary alleyways.‘Russia [...]

    16. I really like history, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting much from this book. I assumed that it would have a lot of historic facts and dates. Frankly, I assumed it would be pretty boring. Boy was I wrong!!! I loved this book!!!Yes, it does give the history of the founding of the British Intelligence Service (MI6) by Mansfield George Smith Cumming but there is “a lot in the telling”! Mr. Milton explains the political climate in both Britain and Russian at the time and how the Bolshevik [...]

    17. "Russian Roulette" by historian Giles Milton is a very enjoyable glimpse into the formation of British Foreign Intelligence(which eventually becomes MI6)during the early days of the Russian Revolution. The author asserts that Lenin wanted the demise of Western government, and communism to prevail particularly within the British Empire. Under the leadership of Mansfield Smith-Cumming, a former naval officer with eccentricities, a handpicked group of unique men fluent in Russian secretly insinuate [...]

    18. Giles Milton in his latest book “Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin’s Plot for Global Revolution details the formation and functioning of the clandestine British spy network that functioned throughout the downfall of Tsarist Russia and as the Bolsheviks assumed power and imposed their brand of rule on Russian society. Milton takes advantage of straightforward language to draw these fantastic pictures of these eclectic spies including Mansfield Cumming, George Hill and Sydney [...]

    19. I learned a few things. Semen makes serviceable invisible ink, and the British gentleman spies in immediate post-revolutionary Russia sent something of themselves with their communiques. One poor chap had apparently built up a stock of 'ink', and had to be told to get a fresh batch every time he needed to send a message - the stink from his letters was intolerable. Poor wee man. You can picture him resignedly fapping away until he had a plentiful supply, only to be told his efforts weren't appre [...]

    20. This slim easy to read volume is all about the foundations of formalised overseas spying by the British. I heard the author being interviewed on radio and this piqued my interest. It’s an intriguing story about resourceful individuals who in some cases gave their lives. Some of it reads like the old Boys Own adventures. Much of the detail is still classified but through a quirk of history some of the files are now under Indian jurisdiction and accessible.This is certainly a testament to the ol [...]

    21. Using recently (2005) declassified documents and files lurking at the British Library's India Office collection, Milton reconstructs the activities of a deeply eccentric and risk-taking team of MI-6 spies, including Arthur Ransome, Sidney Reilley, inserted into or left behind in Russia as the Revolution took hold. Using forgery, disguises and old-school trade craft (including seducing their landladies and posing as Cheka officers), they infiltrated the inner circle of the Comintern, roamed the s [...]

    22. Full of interesting anecdotes about the birth of modern British espionage due to the threat from Soviet Russia. Details like Trotsky's internment in Amherst, Nova Scotia (and fomenting of revolution amongst the German POWs there) and the escapades of Sydney Riley, "The Ace of Spies" and Paul Dukes, the "Man of a Hundred Faces". Reads more like The 39 Steps or Biggles than a history book. Biggest revelation for me was how much Lenin (via the ComIntern) had tried to push for the collapse of the Br [...]

    23. Fascinating, hair-raising tale of British spycraft in the wake of the Russian Bolshevik revolution. I was interested to learn that the intrigue was centered not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in Russian Turkestan, where the agents worked tirelessly to prevent the incursion of Communist revolution into India. The spies faced incredible danger, with many failures and some spectacular successes. But the reckless behavior of some (particularly Reilly, Ace of Spies) led to unnecessary de [...]

    24. Excellent non-fiction! This title is a story that tells about the British spies in Russia just before Lenin's revolution and continues onward. It also entails how the British Secret Service Intelligence Agency was founded. The book show how British spies gathered information to stop Lenin's plot to start a revolution in India. It is easy to read this non-fiction book as in many ways it reads like a novel. I learned so much more about this time in Russia/Soviet Union time period than I ever had b [...]

    25. Milton definitely did his research with this book, detailing how British spies infiltrated the Soviet regime from its birth. Yet there was too much trust in the sources that he used and he did not spend enough time to discussing the primary and secondary material. That being said, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, mainly because it concerns adventure and mystery in a real-life setting. Overall this was very fun and often read as a novel, not as a piece of historical writing; nevertheless, Ru [...]

    26. As you can see, this piece appears to be an exciting and engaging read for anyone interested in the first years of the struggle against Maxist Leninism. Sadly, while the events are demanding and harrowing for the most jaded, the pedantic writing style turns hair-raising, true adventure into the driest tinder! Yawn. The most elderly British MI6 retiree could become more excited than Milton's prose. Skip this one's as slow as a Russian troika in a blizzard

    27. The adventures of some British spies during the period around the Russian revolution are described in this book.I found this book very interesting in places and tedious in others. Some of the characters / events grabbed my attention, but overall the narrative was confused with multiple characters being introduced / explored in one section.If you are interested Russian history / spying this book is probably worth reading but the style is very much a history text book.

    28. I knew very little about what was happening in Russia at the end of the first World War. It was interesting to learn more about that. Sad, too. I was hoping that this book would have given actual stories from the various spies that were featured, but it focused more on the mechanics of spying by the British on Lenin, and that there were spies, and that they ultimately undermined Lenin's plans for world domination.

    29. A bit uneven for me: sometimes the exploits and characters seemed very vivid and exciting, sometimes I was struggling to remember who was who. Whether that's my fault or Milton's, I'm not sure. I've read many of his books and my favourites remain the earlier ones like Big Chief Elizabeth and Nathaniel's Nutmeg, but if you're at all interested in Russian history, or spying, by all means give this a go.

    30. One of the first non fiction books I have thoroughly enjoyed, full of excitement and cunning I kept forgetting it wasn't made up!Following the stories of individual spies is fascinating, you get to know each one very well and their part in Russian history is described in detail, nicely in chronological order but also ordered per-spy. Very interesting and riveting read!

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