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Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  632 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their win ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have enjoyed many of Helen Rappaport’s previous books, such as, “A Magnificent Obsession,” and “The Romanov Sisters,” so I was eager to read her latest work. “Caught in the Revolution,” gives us the first-hand, eye-witness, accounts of foreign nationals in Petrograd during the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.

Even before the revolution began, the city was in turmoil. We begin in 1917, with Russia at war and overflowing with refugees. Despite the first world war, and all of Russia’s internal
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I just realized, reading this at the end of February 2017, that I am reading this exactly one century after the event.

After five chapters:

Just a word of warning, this is not an easy read.

In the prologue we are introduced to a number of prominent figures that will in the following be eye-witnesses of the February and October Revolutions in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) 1917. This gives you a background so you know who is speaking. Americans, British and French among others. Ambassadors, newspaper
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, russian
Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport is a first-hand account of the revolutions in Russia. Rappaport attended Leeds University with the intention of joining the Foreign Office. She changed her mind and became an actress. She, later, became a full-time writer in 1998 and has written several books on Russian history and Victorian history. Her work on Lenin caused a stir when she proposed that he died of syphilis rather than a stroke.

Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to review since I do not like reading non-fiction. The four star rating is for the exceptional research by Helen Rappaport and her attention to details in the writing. There were so many times I felt that I was in Petrograd. I could hear the gun fire, see the women in the long bread lines and enjoy the architecture of the city. The hardships the people went through amazed me. The wealthy, the poor and the foreigners all suffered extremely. Of course war is horrifying; but bei ...more
I learned a good bit about Russia through reading this quite interesting book. Did you know Russia had the first women's battalion? The book is told by comments, diaries and letters from non-Russians who were there at the time. I felt badly for the hungry population, but it never got any better. I'm glad photos are included. It ends with Lenin in power surrounded by the Bolsheviks.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

'Caught in the Revolution' by Helen Rappaport

4 stars/ 8 out of 10

In 'Caught in the Revolution', Helen Rappaport provides a detailed account of the 1917 Russian Revolution, as seen through foreign eyewitness accounts.

Many years ago, I read 'Ten Days that Shook the World' by John Reed, and hence was interested to see whether this account based on many eyewitnesses would provide a more rounded picture. I was especially interested in reading the sections relating to the journalists, Donald Thompson
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-history
A aged apple-seller is shot in the head and left to die on the street after she tries to bargain with revolutionary “soldiers”. People huddle in their darkened freezing rooms as chaos reigns outside, praying that a stray bullet will not find them.

All the knucklehead trolls, left and right, who are currently baying for revolution, should be forced to read this book and get a load of what revolution is really like. You can bet your bottom dollar that they are the ones who will be whining the loude
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, history, non-fiction
In 1917, 100 years ago this year, revolution broke out across Russia. In "Caught in the Revolution," Helen Rappaport looks at the effects of the revolution on one city: Petrograd (a.k.a. St. Petersburg). It was amazing to see how quickly things changed as well as to have a reminder of the course of events that took Russia from the fall of the Tsar to the new government.

Sure, there are a lot of history books that cover Russia during this time period. What makes this book really a great history is
Amy Yingling
Russian history has always been a favorite subject of mine and many of the non-fiction books that I read are either about Russia or WWII so I was excited to spot this title on my local libraries shelves. The last book I read by Helen Rappaport was The Romanov Sisters in 2016 and I found it dreadfully boring, I think I gave it 2 stars, but anyway so I didn't go into this book with too much expectation. I was relieved though when I realized that this book was so much better in every sense of the w ...more
Helen Rappaport studied Russian history at Leeds University and is now recognized as a specialist in that area of study. During the 1990’s she began delving into accounts of the Russian Revolution. She found many accounts written by Russians. But little had been written from the perspective of foreigners who were living in Russia during that time period. She began researching and collecting the accounts of these people. The publication of her book coincides with the centenary of the Russian Revo ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A colorful, well-researched and very readable look at how foreign nationals in Petrograd experienced the 1917 revolution.

Rappaport doesn’t dwell much on the more well-known experience of the revolutionaries (and their “bayonetocracy,” as the Dutch ambassador put it), the government, or the Romanovs, and instead covers the experience of the city’s communities of foreign diplomats, intelligence officers, journalists, celebrities, expatriates, and entrepreneurs. Many these were not fluent in Russi
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Rappaport's Caught in the Revolution unusual approach to the first days of the Russian Revolution is to tell the story, almost exclusively, through the eyes of foreigners (via diaries, letters, etc.). Given the sea of books on the topic, you would think such a thing has been done before, but I'm not aware of any such book. In my experience, such accounts are usually sprinkled throughout larger histories of those tumultuous days. Rappaport herself says the various eye-witness accounts by no ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
Helen Rappaport’s most recent book is about the Russian Revolution. Now, I think I know what you are saying to yourself. Why do we need another one? Well, Rappaport presents the Revolution in Petrograd from the viewpoint of foreigners, of those we didn’t so much have a dog in the fight as it where, but who saw it all unfold.
It’s this perspective that makes the book engrossing and well worth the time it takes to read. The majority of people that Rappaport follows a
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: joseph, goodreads
absolutely riveting!

**Read by Xe Sands
app. 10.5 hrs.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the prologue: Petrograd was a brooding, beleaguered city that last desperate winter before the revolution broke; a snowbound city of ice-locked canals and looming squares.

Premise/plot: Caught in the Revolution by Helen Rappaport uses primary sources--first-hand accounts of men and women who were witnesses--to piece together the events of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The prologue, I believe, gives a background focusing on the December and January leading up to the February Revolution. It in
Going to bail out at the halfway point. I was listening to the audiobook, and though there were a lot of fascinating storylines, I struggled to stay focused on the disparate threads and personages, and found myself zoning out a lot. Xe Sands's narration of the American edition of the audiobook is great (and I'd like to hear her read more nonfiction), but I may need to just read Orlando Figes on the Russian Revolution.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Helen Rappaport, author of 2014’s popular history The Romanov Sisters, among other titles on history and royals both Russian and otherwise, explains in her acknowledgments for Caught in the Revolution that while working as a historian she was struck by “…how much seemed to have been written about the revolution by Russians, but how relatively little I had come across that was said by those many non-Russians who, for various reasons, were stranded in the city that year. I knew there had to be mor ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction, russia
Helen Rappaportin Pietari 1917 on mielenkiintoinen katsaus vuosisadan takaiseen elämään Venäjällä. Rappaportin valitsema tutkimusaihe on tavallisuudesta poikkeava, sillä vallankumousta seurataan tuona aikana Pietarissa oleskelleiden ulkomaalaisten näkökulmasta.

Mukaan mahtuu diplomaatteja, toimittajia ja valokuvaajia. Tarinat ovat kiehtovia. Pientä miinusta siitä, että välillä unohdin, kuka kukin on. Teosta olisi mielestäni selkeyttänyt, jos jokainen luku olisi keskittynyt tiettyyn henkilöön, vai
Tracy Rowan
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this because it promised a wealth of information about what Petrograd was like during the revolution, and that's all grist for the mill of a novel I've been working on forever.  But I got so caught up in the narrative that I kept reading well past the point where there was anything pertinent to my research, and I found myself thinking "What if I set the story a bit later? A month? Six months?" There's so much going on, and Rappaport gives such extensive detail about the expatri ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This was on my local library shelf as a new Book arrival. I bought it to skim into and see if it worth reading. Glad I did, it was so interesting, most Americans have little knowledge of the Russian revolution. Helen Rappaport gives her reader's a great view from the mostly American, British expat's own words what is was like to see the Russian empire fall apart, and fall apart quickly. They share their experiences from their own contemporary "outsider's" point of view. Their views given are not ...more
Iowa City Public Library
From Anne: "Caught in the Revolution, tells the story of the Russian Revolution in Petrograd from the perspective of people who found themselves in absolutely the wrong place at absolutely the wrong time—foreigners. Embassy officials, journalists, tourists, businessmen, servants, and ex-pats from Great Britain, France, and the United States lend their memoirs, letters, diaries, and newspaper articles to tell their story as Tsarist Russia fell into what seems like complete chaos. National City Ba ...more
Michael DeBusk
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
If you only read one book on the October Revolution, this is not the one to read. Helen Rappaport offers a supplemental account of the revolution chronicling the perspectives of Western expatriates caught up in the events in Petrograd. While interesting for what it is, Rappaort’s narrative reads like it might have been written by one of her journalist subjects. That is, she focuses almost exclusively of the facts of her subjects’ experiences with very little attention to setting the scene with c ...more
Savannah Pine
This book utilizes the accounts of foreign nationals living in 1917 Petrograd (renamed at the beginning of World War I because St. Petersburg was too German-sounding). These accounts provide an interesting point of view because the authors are observers but also actors during the February Revolution, Kerensky's government, the October Revolution, and the beginning of Lenin's regime. Reading these accounts has greatly augmented my understanding of Russia in 1917. I highly recommend this book for ...more
philip maiuri

a truly chilling account of an economic revolution lead by criminals that promised "peace,food and land" at the cost of countless lifes being snuffed out .I wish the author would have spent more time on the networking of the Bolshevik s and how very different they are from socialist.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is stunningly good. Helen Rappaport is my go-to for early 20th century Russian history, she knows her stuff and she writes gracefully and movingly. Petrograd and the Feb '17 revolution is brought up close & personal through the experience of its foreign community. Reading it I felt like I was there. No higher praise.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Goodreads for an early copy of CAUGHT IN THE REVOLUTION. This carefully researched book had me on the edge of my seat at the events of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution and the swift current of events that followed. I hurt for the people who shivered with cold, stood hungry in long lines. dodged bullets and perished in the chaos and violence. What a curious mix the pocket full of foreigners made among the warring factions battling over this vast Empire. H ...more
The Irregular Reader
Caught in the Revolution is a meticulously researched account of the months surrounding the 1917 Russian Revolution. The book focuses on the experiences of foreign nationals in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) who were caught up in the violence of the revolution. Rappaport carries the reader from the first conflict of February 1917, through to the final revolutionary spasm in October of 1917.

Rappaport has delved into the diaries and correspondence of ambassadors, nurses, reporters, bankers, anarchists
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It took me months to finish this book, but it was mostly my fault. I've been in a bit of a reading slump, and anything about Russia probably wasn't going to get me out of it. That being said, this was quite a unique subject and an interesting read.

Rappaport has put together the stories of some of the foreign nationals who lived in Russia right at the tail end of WWI, around the time of their communist revolution a la Lenin. There aren't a lot of first-hand accounts available from this very spec
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book based on eyewitness accounts of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Vivian Harrington
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a wondrous collection of eye witness reports from foreign diplomats, reporters, nurses and other French, English and American expatriates in Petrograd as the Russian Revolution unfolded in 1917.

Helen Rapport has researched letters, diaries, news dispatches, diplomatic reports, memoirs and manuscripts to give us glimpses into memories of people from the outside caught up in events that changed the world and deposed a 300 year old dynasty.

In particular I was impressed with the viewp
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Born in Bromley, England, Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University but ill-advisedly rejected suggestions of a career in the Foreign Office and opted for the acting profession. After appearing on British TV and in films until the early 1990s she abandoned acting and embraced her second love - history and with it the insecurities of a writer’s life.

She started out contributing to biograp
More about Helen Rappaport