Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History

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Macmillan, Apr 8, 2014 - History - 336 pages
22 Reviews

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 dreams

In 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 communist 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.


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Review: Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History

User Review  - Kevin - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

Review: Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History

User Review  - Gary Schantz - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review



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About the author (2014)

Orlando Figes is the author of eight books on Russia that have been translated into twenty-seven languages; they include The Whisperers, A People's Tragedy, Natasha's Dance, and Just Send Me Word. A professor of history at Birkbeck, University of London and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Figes is the recipient of the Wolfon History Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, the NCR Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among others.

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