Pale Horse (Hardcover)

A Novel of Revolutionary Russia (Russian and East European Studies)

By Boris Savinkov, Michael R. Katz (Translated by)

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822965701, 119pp.

Publication Date: May 15, 2019

List Price: 21.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Pale Horse is a thinly disguised retelling of the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich. Written in the form of a diary by the leader of a group of five revolutionaries, the novel provides a straightforward and clinical account of the assassination and contains daring and vivid descriptions of the revolutionary underground and political conspiracy. Savinkov gives free reign to his dramatic impulses, the “inner feelings” of the conspirators, and the moral dimension of the plot. The book caused an immediate sensation both in Russia and abroad. Translated from Russian by Michael Katz, Pale Horseexplores the psychological basis of terrorism and political adventurism.

About the Author

Michael Katz is C.V. Starr Professor Emeritus of Russian and East European Studies at Middlebury College.

Praise For Pale Horse: A Novel of Revolutionary Russia (Russian and East European Studies)

“Expertly introduced and translated, Pale Horse takes its place for English-language readers in a Russian tradition of novels about radical intellectuals that stretches from Turgenev and Dostoevsky to Bely and writers of the early Soviet period.  Its characters are as ambiguous as Savinkov himself — terrorist and confessional writer, Social Revolutionary and proto-fascist.  Essential reading for anyone interested in Russian modernism or in the terrorist mentality.”
William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

“For anyone interested in the psychology of terrorism, in the morality of killing for a cause, or in the seductive thrill of extreme situations, this novel, written by a prominent terrorist will prove fascinating.  Expertly translated and annotated by Michael Katz, it brings to life disturbing and complex questions often overlooked by those who romanticize (or dismiss) revolutionary violence.”
Gary Saul Morson, Northwestern University

“In his thinly-disguised autobiographical work, the Socialist Revolutionary assassin and later anti-Bolshevik activist Boris Savinkov provides fascinating insight into the psychology and motivations of socialist terrorists in prerevolutionary Russia. The book is a valuable resource for anyone wishing to understand the revolutionary underground in Russia at this time.”
William G. Wagner, Williams College