The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia / Edition 1

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Overview

This book tells for the first time the extraordinary story of Sergei Degaev, a political terrorist in tsarist Russia who disappeared after participating in the assassination of the chief of Russia’s security organization in 1883. Those who knew and admired Alexander Pell at the University of South Dakota never guessed that he was actually Degaev, a revolutionary who had reinvented himself as a quiet mathematics professor.
“An amazing story, part Dostoevsky, part Conrad. . . . Remarkable.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal
“One of the most distinguished historians of Russia . . . [gives] us a real-life thriller that is also a cautionary tale rich with insight into depths of the human psyche.”—David Pryce-Jones, Commentary
“Absorbing, brilliantly researched. . . . [A] fascinating display of scholarly detective work.”—Raymond Carr, Spectator
“Pipes is the finest historian of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russia. . . . [His] Degaev Affair takes the reader through the dark and terrifying alleyways of the historical underworld. As a story, it ranks as a true-life version of Conrad’s Under Western Eyes.”—Nikolai Tolstoy, Literary Review
“A brilliant history of treason, deception, terror, and academe in the underworld of Imperial Russia and the respectability of midwestern U.S. universities.”—Simon Sebag Montefiore, Financial Times
“Fascinating.”—Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An amazing story, part Dostoevsky, part Conrad. . . . Remarkable.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal

“One of the most distinguished historians of Russia . . . [gives] us a real-life thriller that is also a cautionary tale rich with insight into depths of the human psyche.”—David Pryce-Jones, Commentary

“Absorbing, brilliantly researched. . . . [A] fascinating display of scholarly detective work.”—Raymond Carr, Spectator

Library Journal
Pipes (history, emeritus, Harvard) has mined the available archives to paint a complex picture of a terrorist and police officer in a game of mutual self-advancement, beginning with his involvement in the People's Will, an early terrorist group that was responsible for the March 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II. Sergei Degaev (1857-1921) played his part by helping to dig the tunnel in which the assassins hid. The next year, while in prison, he turned police informant, revealing identities of group members; the resulting mass arrests of those members decimated the group. The following year, Degaev also betrayed his police handler, revealing the identities of other police informants to the remaining leadership of People's Will. Then, he assassinated the police handler. Degaev is mentioned briefly in works on 19th century Russian radical groups (e.g., Adam Bruno Ulam's In the Name of the People and Avraham Yarmolinksy's Road to Revolution), but this is the first full-length work on him. It focuses on his first 35 years, with brief mention of his quiet second career as a mathematics professor in the United States. Essential for collections on Russian history and terrorism.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300107722
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Pipes is Baird Professor of History, Emeritus, Harvard University. He is the author or editor of twenty-six books, including The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive and Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, both published by Yale University Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
List of Abbreviations
1 Alexander Pell 1
2 Sergei Degaev 8
3 Lieutenant Colonel Sudeikin 32
4 The Police Run the Revolution 68
5 Sudeikin's Murder 94
Epilogue 119
Appendix 127
Notes 135
Index 147
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