Douglas Smith

Apetite for Destruction

The Russian Revolution: A New History

By

Profile Books 446pp £25 order from our bookshop

When asked in 1972 about the significance of the French Revolution, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai reportedly quipped, ‘It’s too soon to tell.’ But while the meaning of the revolution in France could still be considered open to debate nearly two hundred years after it happened, the verdict on the Russian Revolution seems to be beyond doubt a mere century after the event. Although there are still a few commentators who see the collapse of the Romanovs and the rise of Lenin’s Bolsheviks as a historical moment of rare hope for humanity (see China Miéville’s recent October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, for example), the overwhelming consensus is that the events of 1917 were nothing short of a tragedy. Such also is the conclusion of Sean McMeekin’s The Russian Revolution, one of a spate of works published in the West to mark the revolution’s centenary. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,
    • 'The Testaments is, first and foremost, a manual of resistance ... a type of resistance that is organised, articula… ,