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Angel of Vengeance: Th...
Ana Siljak
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Angel of Vengeance: The Girl Who Shot the Governor of St. Petersburg and Sparked the Age of Assassination

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In the Russian winter of 1878 a shy, aristocratic young woman named Vera Zasulich walked into the office of the governor of St. Petersburg, pulled a revolver from underneath her shawl, and shot General Fedor Trepov point blank. "Revenge!," she cried, for the governor's brutal treatment of a political prisoner. Her trial for murder later that year became Russia's "trial of ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 18th 2008)
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Aug 02, 2012 AK rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, russia
This is a book about the Vera Zasulich that shot the governor of St.Petersburg in 1878, not about the Vera Zasulich that sent a prescient letter to Karl Marx in 1881, though they are the same person. Zasulich's correspondence with Marx is mainly how she's remembered these days, and what introduced me to her. However, if you want to read a book about the thought of Vera Zasulich, or how she came to her politics, or even a book that incorporates some of life's work into a biographical sketch of he ...more
There's lots of fantastic historical information here connecting some of the influences and friendships of late 19th century Russian revolutionaries.

The book falls short in that the author lacks any sort of real understanding of the different groups/ideas/ideologies she is discussing. In fact, she even dismisses them as "impenetrable writings on socialist theory." For a book about "nihilists" and "anarchists" and "socialists" in a time where Marxism is taking root, it's actually really important
Feb 18, 2012 Sooz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
what a fascinating read ... and where do i start? with the stunning similarities between the 1860's in Russia and the 1960's in America? with my sympathy for Alexander II who really was dedicating to reform - but had no idea how the people would push as soon as the iron grip of the Czar was relaxed a bit? nothing could happen fast enough. for all his good intentions - the first 'glasnost'- he still represented hundreds and hundreds of years of oppression ... AND as America found out, freeing the ...more
Rebecca Huston
I found this to be quite a read, detailing the life and legend of Vera Zasulich, a nineteenth century aristocratic woman who shot the mayor of St. Petersburg, Russia, and became an icon for revolutionaries. The author intersperses Vera's life with an exploration of radical books and thinking, along with how it influenced the modern terrorists of today. Be warned that it is not easy reading -- at times the narrative gets very dry, but I also found it compelling with a lot of information that I kn ...more
Laura Edwards
Dec 07, 2014 Laura Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-history
Ideally, 3.5. A very interesting look at the anarchist movement in Russia in the 1860s and '70s. Not enough about Vera, however, and those were the most interesting parts for me since reading her story and learning more about her compelled me to buy the book. There is more about Nechaev than Vera and he is a far less sympathetic character. I would love to read her autobiography, but it does not appear to be translated into English. Another biography the author mentions and recommends is out of p ...more
I've been fascinated by Vera Zasulich, the Russian revolutionary and assassin, since I first learned about her in a history class in college. She's truly a compelling figure, and it was great to learn a little more about her life through this book. I do wish it had been more focused specifically on Vera, though, instead of delving quite so deeply into the vaster world of the Russian revolutionary movement before and after her. Some context is great and extremely helpful, but I ended up feeling a ...more
Sandra Strange
Wow. At first I was intrigued, but puzzled--why write a book about a failed assassination? But I continued to read and found out. That failed assassination opened up the world of Russian revolutionaries from the 1840's to the end of the century, setting up the Russian revolution in the 20th century. The story of the "girl assassin" communicates what life in Russia was like, the people who saw the horrible inequities and injustices and tried to do something to change life for the better, their fa ...more
May 26, 2008 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: revolutionaries in training
Recommended to Kate by: Steve, via delivery
Shelves: history
"We must pay attention to the particular characteristics of the moral nature of crimes against the state. The physiognomy of such crimes is often quite variable. That which yesterday was considered a crime against the state, today or tomorrow becomes a highly respected act of civic courage. State crimes are often just the untimely expressions of a doctrine of premature reform, the preaching of that which is not yet ripe and whose time has not yet come."
Contextualizes Zasulich's act. It's a good read but anyone who has covered 1860s Russian lit should be familiar with the material tbh (the 'to the people' movement, Fathers & Sons, What is to be done?, Nechaev etc). It doesn't really provide much analysis.
Jan 07, 2009 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Truly excellent history, tells a story that has been lost in the short term memory of modern society about the origins of terrorism and the link between terror, oppression and media. Very well worth looking at.
The story sounds interesting and I really wish I could have stuck with it but I couldn't. I found it too boring. I put this book in the donation box at work.


Oct 19, 2012 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and complex story of the rise of revolution in 19th-20th century Russia.
Feb 01, 2011 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
Of course I read the entire thing and then withdrew from the course. FML.
Interesting story of a mostly forgotten revolutionary.
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I am currently a professor of Russian and East European history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. In addition to Russian history, I am interested in the history of terrorism and in Russian literature.
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