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The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
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The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

(Very Short Introductions)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  37 reviews
This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. T ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 16th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 21st 2002)
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3.47  · 
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 ·  342 ratings  ·  37 reviews


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Claire
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-history
A concise but surprisingly comprehensive history of the 1917 Revolution. Smith covers 1917 itself- and it's political, economic, social and cultural consequences with rigour. My only criticism that it was light on causes, and often introduced concepts and groups that weren't explained or clearly identified until later in the text.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #63), S.A. Smith

This concise, accessible introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole--on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of
...more
Daniel Wright
I studied the Russian Revolution for GCSE history. It's a mark of how superficially you learn things at that age that I still learned a lot from this VSI.

Chapter 1: From February to October
Chapter 2: Civil war and the foundation of the Bolshevik regime
Chapter 3: War communism
Chapter 4: NEP: politics and the economy
Chapter 5: NEP: society and culture
Amanda
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
For a short introduction, this book was incredibly boring. I am sorry Mr. Smith, did you intend to make me interested in this topic?
James Webster
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Quite a good introduction. Fair balance between chronological narrative and analysis.
Alexander Kerensky
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I didn't approach Oxford's crash course in Russian history with high expectations, and to be fair it's done about as well as it could be, but that doesn't make it good.

The Russian Revolution was probably the single most important event of the twentieth century. When you think about the things it directly caused, what it inspired, and how rooted in everything that happened afterwards it became, it becomes clear that this is a very serious topic. Had Nicholas II been a little more conciliatory in
...more
Theodore
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction is a very intelligent, heady read. At times it was difficult to follow due to the author narrating multiple events that were happening in parallel. That said, I'm certain anything you needed to know about the formation of Soviet Russia, from Lenin to the Checka, to the use of terrorism as policy by the Bolsheviks, you'll find it.

What I learned while reading: Communism is Socialism with guns, and neither is good for a civil society.

Katie
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting, but too dense to really absorb it all. Felt like I was reading a boring textbook.
Emy
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Written by my old tutor at Essex in a clear and accessible style. I loved his lectures and this book carries a lot of the passion he gives in real life.
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Does exactly what it said on the cover
M. Ashraf
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vsi
This summarize the book
"The story we have traced has been in part one about how possibilities opened up in 1917 were steadily closed off. As early as January 1918, key components of the 1917 revolution - power to the soviets, workers' control of production, the abolition of a standing army - were jettisoned. By 1921 the Bolsheviks no longer saw the working class as the agent of revolution, but the party-state and the Red Army. ... It was structural more than it was ideological."

"It seems safe t
...more
Douglas
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listened to the audiobook. Covers the late 1900s to the mid-late 1920s, the late Czarist period through the Red-White civil wars and the revolution, the formation of soviets, the NEP, Lenin's death, up to Stalin's takeover. Confines itself to internal politics, the various strains of left-oriented revolution in the air at the time, and the ways different factions and personalities appeared, fought, and were subsumed or silenced. Also included are the ways in which the revolutionary identity evol ...more
EvilRoySlade69
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Smith failed to explain some of the base concepts and terms that were a substantial part of what the Bolsheviks created, and if I didn't have a minor understanding of what they were and meant beforehand it may have been confusing. the problem, it seems, is also that the Russian revolution defies condensation into such a short book
Mainichi66
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
One reason some reader found this book boring is because its contents are highly condense. One have to read word by word in a sentence and then read the whole sentence again. and sometimes again. it isn't a page turner at all. but such trudge pays too. there are nevertheless invaluable treasures buried inside if one can recognize the parallels in the subject's modern cousins.
Cathal Kerins
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Snappy, informative, and relatively objective. Sometimes shirks away from controversial topics such as the famines of 1921 to 1923; however, ultimately successful in portraying a snippet of the general Zeitgeist behind some of the political developments during the years from 1917 to the mid-1920s.
Clarence
Dec 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I listened to it because my mum was and it was boring so don’t read it
Tomasz
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you read another books on russian revolution, you won't find anything interesting here.
Bill
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of information. Incredibly dull presentation. An avalanche of facts. A difficult read.
Stephen
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics
This book was a bit of a hard read. It provides a straightforward narrative account of the Russian Revolution, and the early formation of the USSR. It has some relevance for the events of today in that part of the world, and provides an historical perspective on current and future issues within the area. Looking at the text, it is hard to see why we would ever think that Russia would allow Ukraine and Crimea to slip out of its control. They are such an important part of the way in which Russia v ...more
R.M.F Brown
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Critics of the Very Short Introduction series, have long attacked these books for 'dumbing down' serious topics. I beg to differ. Informative, tightly woven, and jam-packed with information, without losing control, this is an excellent introduction for the layman, on a pivotal era of world history.

If this brief introduction whets your appetite, then the extensive reading list proves more than adequate to satisfy your intellectual curiosity.

And they're pocket size to boot, making them handy for
...more
Kjn
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vsi
A excellent Very Short Introduction. The book gives a good idea of the complexity, or messiness, of the revolution and the enormity of different outcomes that had been possible with different groups struggling for power. And after the civil war the initial idealism turns to pragmatism and then to despotism, all according to the requirements of circumstances.
Mouldy Squid
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A very good introduction to the Russian Revolution for the non-specialist or the curious. All the major themes, causes, consequences and evaluations of the Soviet rise to power are explained clearly and concisely. It also serves as excellent primer for those looking to begin a more serious study of the Revolution.
K
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
While very short, this book is a quite in-depth view of the Russian Revolution. It describes the period from the February revolution up to the demise of the NEP in 1928-29. Quite insightful for its size.
Mark
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, russia
Not bad. Although those who seek to their save money should instead buy Sheila Fitzpatrick's introduction on the topic, as it is just as readable and less brief.
Dan Cohen
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, vsi, history
A good book that does what it promises.
Annm
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this to anyone who wanted a concise, well-organized overview of the Russian Revolution.
Lucy Barnhouse
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A cogent and lucid history concentrating on the period from 1917-23. Historiography is not explicitly discussed, but useful bibliographic notes are included.
Vivian
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A great introduction to a complex historical event, and one which whets the appetite for more in-depth understanding.
Yvonne Heart
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Boring but gives you an idea of how the Russian Revolution came about.
William Herschel
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is way too in-depth, does not make for enjoyable reading. Will try another.
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Steve (S. A.) Smith is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a Professor in the History Faculty of Oxford University. He was formerly Professor of Comparative History at the European University Institute, Florence, and Professor of History at the University of Essex. He is a historian of modern Russia and China, who works on the interface of social and political history and, m ...more

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