Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution (Hardcover)
The Early Years of the Russian Revolution
PublicAffairs, 9781610391405, 441pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
The early years of Bolshevik rule were marked by dynamic interaction between Russia and the West. These years of civil war in Russia were years when the West strove to understand the new communist regime while also seeking to undermine it. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks tried to spread their revolution across Europe at the same time they were seeking trade agreements that might revive their collapsing economy. This book tells the story of these complex interactions in detail, revealing that revolutionary Russia was shaped not only by Lenin and Trotsky, but by an extraordinary miscellany of people: spies and commissars, certainly, but also diplomats, reporters, and dissidents, as well as intellectuals, opportunistic businessmen, and casual travelers. This is the story of these characters: everyone from the ineffectual but perfectly positioned Somerset Maugham to vain writers and revolutionary sympathizers whose love affairs were as dangerous as their politics. Through this sharply observed expose of conflicting loyalties, we get a very vivid sense of how diverse the shades of Western and Eastern political opinion were during these years.
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Praise For Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution…
"[A] well-researched, detailed, and thoughtful analysis of the Russian Revolution, here removed from the global vacuum into which it is often relegated…. Service is careful not to lose focus on the cultural, political, and economic weight that the revolution brought to a dispirited Russia…. [A] nuanced and important contribution to the history of the Russian Revolution. Readers of Russian and early Soviet history, both in and out of academia, will find it illuminating."
"Careful, dense scholarly study" that "paints detailed portraits of the revolutionary principals and their sometimes-surprising allies and enemies."
“An excellent account of the international intrigue that took place during the Russian Revolution…The author uses lesser- and well-known historical figures to facilitate understanding of the global significance of WW I, which most prominently included the survival of the Soviet state. The book's broad perspective makes it useful in world history survey courses.”
New York Review of Books“[a] colorful history.”