Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Macmillan, Oct 2, 2012 - History - 496 pages
3 Reviews

Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin's Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding peasants and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution, it is the story of how a centuries'-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the Tsar and Empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia.

Yet Former People is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class--so-called "former people" and "class enemies"--overcame the psychological wounds inflicted by the loss of their world and decades of repression as they struggled to find a place for themselves and their families in the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families--the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns--it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on.

Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia's most powerful aristocratic families, and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.


What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy

User Review  - Anson Bentley - Goodreads

Revealing the consequence of extreme, disproportionate overindulgence and imbalance by the haves over the have nots resulting in a philosophy/ideology of 'All must be equal at any cost' which was, not ... Read full review

Review: Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy

User Review  - Carey Combe - Goodreads

I think the scope was too large (i have read better accounts of all the events) but I thought the conclusion tied it all up so well (maybe better at the beginning), I gave it an extra star. Read full review

All 2 reviews »


Note on Dates and Spelling
Before the Deluge
Dr Golitsyn
School of Life
Noble Remains
Stalins Russia 18 The Great Break
The Deathof Parnassus 20 Outcasts
The Mousethe Kerosene and the Match
Annas Fortune
Happy Times
Operation Former People
Note on Sources Notes Bibliography

The FoxTrot Affair

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Douglas Smith is an award-winning historian and translator and the author of three previous books on Russia. Before becoming a historian, he worked for the U. S. State Department in the Soviet Union and as a Russian affairs analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

Bibliographic information