A People's Tragedy

A People's Tragedy

The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924

Book - 1998
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It is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes presents a panorama of Russian society on the eve of that revolution, and then narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased. Within the broad stokes of war and revolution are miniature histories of individuals, in which Figes follows the main players' fortunes as they saw their hopes die and their world crash into ruins. Unlike previous accounts that trace the origins of the revolution to overreaching political forces and ideals, Figes argues that the failure of democracy in 1917 was deeply rooted in Russian culture and social history and that what had started as a people's revolution contained the seeds of its degeneration into violence and dictatorship. A People's Tragedy is a masterful and original synthesis by a mature scholar, presented in a compelling and accessibly human narrative.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1998
ISBN: 9780140243642
Branch Call Number: 947.083 F467P 1998
Characteristics: xx, 923 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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May 26, 2012

The book is worth reading, but Figes' scholarship has been questioned - you can look it up on the internet for yourself. That doesn't entirely surprise me though. This is the first book I've read on the history of the Russian Revolution and so I can't comment too much on the historical accuracy, but I can definitely say that when Figes tries to discuss Marxist theory - which isn't often - he gets it completely wrong. There are probably better books out there to read about October 1917, but it's still worth the read because he does a good job of discussing the different institutions and class relationships in 1893 -1924 Russia.


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