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A Concise History of the Russian Revolution

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  344 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The author of the classic two-volume study, The Russian Revolution and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, now distills those works into an authoritative new chronicle of Russia between 1900 and the death of Lenin. "A deep and eloquent condemnation."--The New York Times.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 26th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Jan 06, 2013 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always struck by the idea that so many people can be controlled by so few. This realization makes me alert, but not paranoid, regarding corruption in our representative bodies of the West. I remember how fearful we were that the Soviet Communist movement would subvert our societies. In hind sight, that seems almost comical. Our house has endured many problems, but the Soviet house was always in total dysfunction. I am very hopeful that the World will remember the failures of centralized, an ...more
Adam A
Jul 09, 2014 Adam A rated it it was ok
This book should have been named "A Criticism of the Russian Revolution."

From the onset, Pipes uses his "Concise History" to vent his personal feelings about the failings of the Revolution, going on a multi-page screed against intellectuals, whom he criticizes as having no real mandate from people to foment revolutions; to this end, invoking the French and Russian revolutions, though stopping just short of the American one, in spite of the many similarities.

Were this attitude in presentation to
Jul 15, 2015 Rob rated it it was ok
Here you may find lots of useful information about the Russian Revolution, the events leading up to it, and the subsequent Civil War, if you're willing to invest some time in extracting it from the author's constant editorializing. I can only guess that Dr. Pipes spent much of his youth being beaten up by intellectuals, since he clearly hates them even more than Communists—and boy, howdy, does he ever hate him some Commies. Never does he mention intellectuals (and by this I believe he refers to ...more
Ashok Sridharan
Feb 28, 2015 Ashok Sridharan rated it it was amazing
This book covers major political events in Russia from the turn of the 20th century- the final years of the Tsarist regime- to the death of Lenin in January 1924, by which time the communist regime was fairly well established and the Soviet Union was already in existence. It is, in short, a chronicle of the tragic events that liberated Russia from an oppressive, archaic and tyrannical regime only to replace it with one that was far worse.

From the failed revolution of 1905, the constitutional ex
Mar 30, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
A fine, relatively concise history of the period between 1905 (the first Russian revolution) and 1924 (Lenin's death) for anyone who doesn't want to commit to the two weightier tomes (totaling 1,300 pages) from which this is drawn. Pipes is a fine scholar and a clear and compelling writer and the book flows smoothly. However, it's marred by his clear, nay outspoken, ideological and political bias(es), which are on full display in the introductory and concluding chapters. Unlike, say, some of the ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Prankster rated it really liked it
Definitely a thoughtful overview of the subject and Pipes' fundamental research seems to be solid despite his editorializing. He's quite biased to the right (he worked for the Reagan administration and sees the Bolshevik revolution as doomed from the start) but he's pretty forthright in declaring those biases, and he has a surprising amount of sympathy and open-mindedness towards the other, less radical socialist parties. He makes assertions that sometimes strain credibility--particularly his in ...more
Becky Blackmer
Mar 04, 2016 Becky Blackmer rated it it was ok
The title gives it all, yet at the same time it doesn't. The book describes itself as giving a shortened yet detailed telling of the events prior to and during the Russian Revolution. Instead, it is mainly told from a biased perspective. Although it is hard to not get too political when talking about the Russian Revolution, that's basically all this is. I had picked up this book because at first glance and quick skim, it seemed related to my topic of societal downfall. However, I want to look at ...more
Dan Walker
Early in this book Mr. Pipes makes the stunning declaration that the Russian Revolution was THE seminal event of the 20th century. On the face of it, that's ridiculous. A century that saw such events as WWI and II, man walking on the moon, etc.; surely the Russian Revolution qualifies as nothing more than one of the many spinoffs of these central events!

I didn't have to read much further before I agreed with Mr. Pipes. The reason is that the Revolution lays to rest many half-truths, myths, and o
Orlando Tosetto
Apr 27, 2015 Orlando Tosetto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tese do livro é esta: todas as monstruosidades praticadas por Stálin já estavam antecipadas na conduta de Lênin e (um pouco menos) Trotsky entre 1917 e 1923. E se comprova. A quantidade de vezes que o autor usa a frase "essa foi a primeira vez em que..." se fez tal ou qual monstruosidade, se contou tal ou qual mentira, se usou tal ou qual método assassino para se resolver um problema arrepia. O comunismo se ergueu mediante a mentira e se afirmou mediante o assassinato. Demonstrado. De lambuja, ...more
Feb 20, 2009 Brandon rated it really liked it
I was reading this book one evening when I had to call the cops because our neighbor wouldn't turn down his television.
Max Nelson
May 20, 2014 Max Nelson rated it it was ok
Going into this, my goal was to learn more about the Russian revolution (more so about Lenin, Trotsky, etc., and less about the time period beforehand), and I was looking for something that would give me more than I could get from Google/Wikipedia, but less than a textbook.

This kind of delivered, but was fairly dense at times and was not exactly an easy read (having concise in the title is a little misleading).

For example, there are about 80-100 pages before the Bolsheviks are really introduce
Jan 02, 2011 Todd rated it it was amazing
This was a great summary of the Russian revolution. Although I wasn't familiar with Russian history, I was able to follow the timeline even though it was filled with bizarre concepts and unusual political philosophies. The writer definitely took a position and didn't try to stay impartial. I think this was a wise choice as it allowed him to put in perspective many of the key events in the revolution and aftermath.

The book, as a concise history, didn't go into incredible detail on Stalin's reign
Josh Mitchell
Mar 27, 2014 Josh Mitchell rated it really liked it
Concise yes, although it also left me wanting more. I think the subject matter is perhaps done a disservice by being concise. Pipes writes in a a style that feels like, "this may be concise, but I know my shit and am writing to make a point, and you will just have to take my word for it or read my other books." I was not turned off by this but understand how others might be. Overall this is a good, relatively easy read on the subject.
John Dembowski
Oct 07, 2015 John Dembowski rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An efficient and clear overview of an otherwise complicated period. Some of the struggles and arguments we hear today can trace their roots to this time and ideology.
Apr 04, 2014 Neal rated it really liked it
Rich Mulvey
May 30, 2013 Rich Mulvey rated it really liked it
A very readable summary of the political and cultural events leading up to the Russian Revolution, as well as the internal workings of the Bolsheviks up until the Stalin era.

The text flows well, and the various supporting documentation supports the author's position. However, it's quite clear that the author has a distinct conservative bias ( at least as defined by contemporary Americans ) and that bleeds over into the book a little too frequently.

Overall though, it's well worth the time.
Feb 08, 2009 Trey added it
A rather conservative look at the Russian Revolution. Despite its author's biases, it's a pretty informative little book. I learned that the Revolution actually consisted of two revolutions... an honest, people-in-the-streets style thing in Feb., 1917 and a seizure of power from the people by the Bolsheviks in Oct., 1917.
Rebecca Cook
Jul 10, 2013 Rebecca Cook rated it really liked it
It really gave good insight into how the Soviet Union came into being, and even how Nazi Germany hatched the many heinous crimes they committed years later. One man, Lenin, set into place a moving flood which impacts the world today as we know it. We are still feeling and seeing the results of his twisted mind.
Oct 11, 2008 Paula rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone who actually enjoys sitting for hours and reading about Russian History
Recommended to Paula by: It was an assignment.
I had to read this for my IB World History class in 11th grade when we were learning about the major revolutions in the world. I learned some interesting and disturbing things about Rasputin and the Russian government. Thanks to this book, all I remember from Russian history is the Romanovs.
Jun 12, 2013 Warren rated it liked it
Informative, though rather right wing biased perspective of the revolution. He has nothing at all positive to say about Lenin nor actually accounts for why many peopled supported him and the Bolsheviks. Will be reading Orlando Figes' A People's Tragedy next for an apparently more balanced view.
Kaylon Tuttle
Feb 11, 2013 Kaylon Tuttle rated it liked it
Shelves: own, 2013
Full of good information, it is written by a dude with a clear political agenda. Here all failings belong to ideology. That is the blind spot, in my mind. As long as you know that, there is a ton of great information here for a quick run down of a chaotic time.
Nov 12, 2013 Paulrus rated it liked it
Good overview of the Russian Revolution. The author had a definite viewpoint, which at times was mildly annoying, but overall this was does a good job of succinctly describing the revolution and explaining how events unfolded.
Nov 13, 2015 Jon rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book. It was well written and fairly concise. It gave some interesting background information and allowed me to understand those forces that culminated in the Russian Revolution.
Faten Eassa
Jun 01, 2010 Faten Eassa added it
Recommended to Faten by: was a present
I have just started reading this book. I've always been interested in the history of Russia before the revolution and this is my first time to read about the revolution period.
Stephen Kozeniewski
Jul 28, 2013 Stephen Kozeniewski rated it did not like it
Totally biased junk. Pipes couldn't even pretend to take an unbiased view of anything. Every fucking word had to mitigated. What a waste of my goddamned time.
Joey Johnson
Feb 27, 2015 Joey Johnson rated it really liked it
I liked the author's explanation of the details better than the conciseness of this book. His larger works now seem less challenging and more inviting.
Kaarthik Anebou
Oct 21, 2012 Kaarthik Anebou rated it really liked it
Good read and lots of information to absorb. Would recommend you go through a book on Russian history or about Lenin before going through this one.
May 16, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it
A good overview, but I ended up wanting to know more about almost every topic. Should have gone for the non-concise version.
Perhaps not so concise after all, but a great read and very informative.
Jul 15, 2015 Bryan rated it really liked it
Nice intro to Russian History. Not compellingly written, however.
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Born in Poland, Richard Pipes emigrated to the United States in 1940, and became an American citizen in 1943, while serving in the Army Air Corps.

He was educated at Muskingum College and Cornell and Harvard Universities. He married Irene Eugenia Roth in 1946, and has two children.

Pipes taught at Harvard from 1950 until his retirement in 1996, and was director of Harvard's Russian Research Center f
More about Richard Pipes...

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