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 Soviet regime in 1991. 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.
“Elegant, lucid . . . Few writers have conveyed the splendors and horrors—indeed, the often grinding bleakness—of Russian history as well as Figes, and he is in full form here . . . A refreshing new perspective on the antecedents behind today's headlines.”—The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
"Insightful and convincing . . . Figes integrates his analysis into a highly readable story, and he shows himself to be a master of historical narrative. Readers will find themselves absorbing a great deal of information and insight with very little effort"—David Priestland, Financial Times
"A primer intended for readers unfamiliar with the territory, it sparkles with ideas, vivid storytelling, poignant anecdotes and pithy phrases . . . Fresh and dramatic."—Victor Sebestyen Sunday Times
Reviews from Goodreads
After a year of meteorological catastrophes the peasants of south-east Russia faced starvation in the summer of 1891. The seeds planted the previous autumn had barely time to germinate before the frosts...