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The Russian Revolution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2002

    Equality in Russia

    Mr. Pipes has written here one of the best, most comprehensive works on the Russian Revolution. By the 'Revolution', he means the February 1917 popular uprising, not the Communist coup later that same year. His work highlights the tragedy that befell Russia- the combination of a mindless monarchy, spineless liberals, and power hungry leftists would create for the Russians decades of unprecedented slavery and misery. But at least everyone (except the Party higher ups) was equally poor and oppressed. Highly recommended, but be forewarned, this is not light summer reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This five star review is with serious reservations. If you are v

    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 totalitarianism and genocide. Regrettably, too many historians who lean left of center, have white washed Russian Communism because they think it was merely a misguided attempt to stand up for the little guy. Perhaps, they think that there are lessons from Russia that will help us moderate the ill effects of Capitalism as if American capitalism and Russian communism are both in the wrong. They may both be flawed, but Capitalism is wrong like a traffic violation and Communism is wrong like genocide is wrong. It is refreshing to read a historian not afraid to vehemently attack a thing as clearly wrong, a vast crime. And so Pipes is thorough, detailed, with brilliant analysis. He is the big dog when it comes to the Russian Revolution. And he has definite opinions which he is not afraid to voice. No one can claim to be well informed concerning this issue without having read Pipes. So why the serious reservations about 5 stars? To slog through this tome you need to want to be a Russian Revolution expert. It is detailed to the point of tedium. You reach the conclusion with enormous relief as if you have been freed of a burden. The book has no sense of joy; it is dismal, dark even. The book is a triumph of scholarship, but the reader does not feel triumphant. So if you really want a detailed understanding of the cataclysm that left Russia with a single party state led by one of the 20th centuries great monsters, Lenin, the precursor to the worst of the 20th century Hitler, Stalin, Mao, then read this book.  

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