Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Russian Revolution” as Want to Read:
The Russian Revolution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Russian Revolution

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  498 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Mr. Pipes writes trenchantly, and at times superbly....No single volume known to me even begins to cater so adequately to those who want to discover what really happened to Russia....Nor do I know any other book better designed to help Soviet citizens to struggle out of the darkness."

-- Ronald Hingley, The New York Times Book Review

Ground-breaking in its inclusiveness, ent
Paperback, 976 pages
Published November 5th 1991 by Vintage
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Russian Revolution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Russian Revolution

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  498 ratings  ·  43 reviews

More filters
Sort order
This volume is both a rigorous history and critique of Communism. Dr. Pipes thesis, largely a consensus view among historians now, is that the revolution was not a revolution at all, but a coup d’état. The biggest surprise for me was the detailed story of how the Bolsheviks crushed all the other socialist groups (Soviet Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Left SRs, etc) until they alone remained in power. But that was later. For after the collapse of the Provisional Government, left in place by the abd ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-history
“The architects of War Communism, its theorists and executors…had only the most superficial acquaintance with the discipline of economics and no experience in business management. Their knowledge of economics derived largely from socialist literature. None of them had run an enterprise or earned a ruble from manufacture or trade…[T]he Bolshevik leaders were professional revolutionaries, who, save for brief stints at Russian or foreign universities (devoted mostly to political activity), had spen ...more
Very long narrative history of the lead up and early stages of the Russian Revolution and civil war. It gives a useful picture of how confused and fast-moving the situation was, particularly in 1918. There is a constant emphasis on the role of the non-Russian nationalities during the civil war, to such an extent that the book could have been more honestly called "The non-Russian Revolution", Russians being a passive lot upon whom revolution in Pipes account is visited by Czechs, Estonians and La ...more
Mesut Bostancı
Dec 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Stupid propaganda which treats Marxist thought like everyone was faking it the whole time just to drink the blood of children. Full disclosure I hate his son too.
Carl Von Clausewitz
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Pipes and Figes are the best authors if you are interested in Russian History.
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This five star review is with serious reservations. If you are very interested in the Russian Revolution, this book is the definitive account. Not only does it demonstrate impeccable scholarship, but has a definite point of view. Pipes clearly does not like Lenin or Bolshevism. Because of his strong opinions, which show through in his writing, the book is more engaging than if he had worried about feigning objectivity. The Russian Revolution was tragic and evil, and set the stage for modern tota ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally finished this one! It was a great read, but I had to knock a star off for sheer length. There was an overwhelming amount of information in here, more even than I expected. I had some questions while reading this about the target audience here, my supposition is Russia experts and scholars. This was certainly not light reading. However, if you are looking for a comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution, this is absolutely the book that I would recommend. I thought that Richard Pipes ...more
surly cold warrior laments the death of the royal family.
Daniel Bakken
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Richard Pipes is in the same league as David McCullough- a world class historian. He deeply understands Russia and unfolds his mastery using crystal clear prose. Blows away many myths about the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. Well worth the time investment to better understand this pivotal event which is still misunderstood today.
Claudia Moscovici
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The best account of the Russian Revolution--its fervor and its madness--that I have read. A must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of communism and totalitarianism.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-world
Wow! This book took a major commitment (850 pages in small print). While at times I did wish it was shorter, in the end, the length was worth it to gain a thorough understanding of the Russian Revolution. It is a complex topic deserving of an in-depth treatment. I started the book with a relatively negative view of communism, Lenin, Stalin, etc. but after having read about the specifics of what happened, my view had become even more negative. Lenin was a fierce, uncompromising radical who took c ...more
Mark Feltskog
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Gaseous, shrill and unbalanced.
For one reason or another (probably out of sheer curiosity) I wanted to get a better understanding of Russian revolution and early history of communism in Russia. Richard Pipes’ book seemed like a reasonable place to start dabbling with this subject. In many ways it turned out to be a suitable choice for a starting point for a study of this subject. At the same time, it is in my opinion a risky choice for an introduction to this historical event.

“Russian Revolution” starts off as your typical hi
Mary Catelli
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-modern
His second Russian book. after Russia Under the Old Regime.

This is a history book. Where as Old Regime included some historical data about causes and changes, but was chiefly about Russian social structure, this is about the events, from 1905 to 1917, that formed and shaped the Russian Revolution, through World War I and to the murder of the Imperial family. All sorts of things from the "dry terror" whereby any dissent was driven out of intelligentsia circles before the Revoultion to the Bolshev
Stephen Selbst
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Pipes wrote an exhaustively detailed and quite gripping account of the Russian Revolution, from the time of the first Duma government through 1918. Written in the late 1980s, before later scholars had increased access to the Russian archives after the fall of the USSR, its thoroughness is remarkable. But Pipes was and is from the hysterical school of anti-Communism, and that bias thoroughly permeates his work and measurably weakens it. I am not an apologist for the USSR; it was an evil and despo ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
The second book of RIchard Pipes' trilogy is filled with slightly more right-wing banter than Russia Under the Old Regime, but I still would recommend it cause it sure is about as a complete history as you are probably gonna want.
Chris Alden
Jul 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read2018
Detailed but absurdly biased.
Miguel Martinez
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
As Cervantes said there is no book from what one cannot take some advantage.

Richard Pipe’s book about the Russian Revolution has two parts: the first one about the period leading to October 1917 and the second the period from October 17 to the consolidation of the revolution.

The first one give us a good analysis of the happenings and causes that leaded firstly to February 17 and later to October 17. It is organized by topics and not chronologically, so it give us a insight about the social, econ
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Russian Revolution is a very detailed (and I mean very detailed) look at the Russian revolution. I knew I was in for it when it took the author 15 pages at the beginning to decide on a year that the revolution really began. The book starts in 1890 and details the social unrest in Russia, the fall of the Tsars, and the civil war that followed (WWI is barely touched on). Interspersed amongst those significant events are the methods that the Bolsheviks used along their way to gaining power. Fir ...more
Bill V
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The material at times is dry and there are extensive footnotes but this is a very important title. The book is quite long in its number of pages.
I already knew several aspects of the subject matter but not to the extent covered here. The book is exhaustive in its coverage of the czar and his family, Lenin, Trotsky, the Cheka and the Red Terror. Stalin and World War I get some treatment in the book.
It's unfortunate the subjects and topics covered in the book don't get more coverage in western soc
Andrew Davis
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This is the best book on this topic I have read yet. It is very detailed and requires some effort to get through, but by doing this one can get some understanding of how a band of fanatics, with the help of German government, managed to fool the millions of decent people and take over power in the country exhausted by the war and the autocratic rule of Romanovs, and then by exterminating of all its opponents rule it by terror for another seventy years.

Carmen Agustin
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Very rich in detail however you can be bogged down with the amount of details that are in this book. It took me quite a while to read this book in order to fully appreciate the content.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
From one despotic autocracy to bloody totalitarian madmen.
John Scardamaglia
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well researched, but too often the author allows his own political views on to the page.
Noah Potash
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The biggest takeaways from this exhaustively researched book: don't support politicians who love political violence, and don't put a bunch of amateurs in charge of the economy.
James Burns
I was Really looking forward to reading this book because the Russian revolution has always interested me. This book by far is the best book that I have read on the Russian Revolution to this date, My only disappointment was that he did mot cover the Russian Civil War between the Red Army (Bolshevik) and the White Armies and Their Leaders and the battles and tactics and strategies as in-depth as he did all the other subjects. I was able to learn a lot about this chapter in the histories of Russ ...more
Fred R
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The greatest history of the Russian Revolution I've come across, and one of the best history books in general. Despite his conservatism, Pipes' Polish-Jewish jaundiced attitude is appropriately skeptical of the real achievements of such right-wing notables as Stolypin, and of the worth of the Tsarist regime as a whole in the years leading up to the February revolution, but this skepticism is as nothing compared to the rigorous demolition he carries out on any of the remaining lies and illusions ...more
Jeff Fuller
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pipes does a masterful job of explaining the causes and describing the events of the Russian Revolution. At over 800 pages, the book provides lots of detail, but it may have been a bit much for someone who has only a passing familiarity with the events and personalities. I thought the chapter about the Russian peasantry was a fascinating analysis and the chapter about the execution of the Russian royal family was excellent narrative history. A reader who is motivated to learn about this importan ...more
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
It was fascinating to see real living examples of secret combinations and murders on which the formation of the Soviet Union relied. It was nothing short than the work of the adversary through the hands of a few maniacal men. It offers a somber warning to all of us. The Russian peoples were overwhelmingly against a Soviet form of government when the revolution met them. Without an anchor, they fell to the madness and the rioting of the times.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Thorough and well-written history. Can a group of young idealists take over the 5th biggest economy in the world, and bring misery and suffering to its people? (spoiler: they can).

Only quibble I have is this edition, although after the fall of the Soviet Empire, does not rely on more complete archival information now available. It would be interesting to have a foreword or review that explains where these gaps have more recently been filled in.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Great Terror: A Reassessment
  • A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End
  • A History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Vladimir Putin
  • The Russian Revolution 1917-1932
  • Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment
  • The Shadow of the Winter Palace: Russia's Drift to Revolution 1825-1917
  • The Crusades
  • The God That Failed
  • Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor
  • The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers 1804 - 1999
  • Moscow, December 25th, 1991
  • Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire
  • America, Russia and the Cold War 1945-2006
  • Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945
  • Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia
  • Later Roman Empire
  • The Crimean War: A History
  • The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States
See similar books…
Born in Poland, Richard Pipes fled the country with his family when Germany invaded it in 1939. After reaching the United States a year later, Pipes began his education at Muskingum College, which was interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and sent to Cornell to study Russian. He completed his bachelor's degree at Cornell in 1946 and earned his doctorate at Harvard Univers ...more