Simon Sebag Montefiore

Tsar Boot Sale

History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks

By

Yale University Press 288pp £25 order from our bookshop

This book can be read in three ways. First, it is a work of considerable scholarship and the fruit of much archival probing by a fine scholar of early Bolshevism – and much of it is fresh, exciting and overdue. Secondly, it is a study of how a new, radical and illicit government used all means possible to launder the money and treasures of Russia’s tsarist regime, sell them to the capitalists who hated the Bolsheviks, and use the ill-gotten gains to buy arms and fund the nightmarish, blood-spattered experiment of the Soviet Union. Thirdly, it has a contemporary relevance since it is the first study of illegal funding – or, as we would say today, sanctions busting – on a colossal scale. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,
    • 'Readers have no more power to predict where the next story is going to take them than the prisoners had to determi… ,