March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

by Will Englund
March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

by Will Englund


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A riveting history of the month that transformed the world’s greatest nations as Russia faced revolution and America entered World War I.

“We are provincials no longer,” declared Woodrow Wilson on March 5, 1917, at his second inauguration. He spoke on the eve of America’s entrance into World War I, just as Russia teetered between autocracy and democracy. In the face of chaos and turmoil in Europe, Wilson was determined to move America away from the isolationism that had defined the nation’s foreign policy since its inception and to embrace an active role in shaping world affairs.

Just ten days later, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne, ending a three-centuries-long dynasty and plunging his country into a new era of uncertainty, ultimately paving the way for the creation of a Soviet empire.

Within a few short weeks, at Wilson’s urging, Congress voted to declare war on Germany, asserting the United States’ new role as a global power and its commitment to spreading American ideals abroad. Yet at home it remained a Jim Crow nation, and African Americans had their own struggle to pursue. American women were agitating for the vote and a greater role in society, and labor strife was rampant. As a consequence of the war that followed, the United States and Russia were to endure a century of wariness and hostility that flickers and flares to this day.

March 1917 reexamines these tumultuous events and their consequences in a compelling new analysis. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary Russian and American diaries, memoirs, oral histories, and newspaper accounts, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Will Englund creates a highly detailed and textured account of the month that transformed the world’s greatest nations. March 1917 considers the dreams of that year’s warriors, pacifists, activists, revolutionaries, and reactionaries, and demonstrates how their successes and failures constitute the origin story of our complex modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393292084
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Pulitzer, Polk, and Overseas Press Club Award–winning journalist Will Englund was a recent Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post and has spent a total of twelve years reporting from Russia. He now lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Notes on the Text ix

Chapter 1 "Go! Go! Go!" 3

Chapter 2 "A Crime Against Civilization" 24

Chapter 3 "Rich Earth, Rotting Leaves" 39

Chapter 4 "You Fellows Are In for It" 56

Chapter 5 "We Have Had to Push, and Push, and Push" 71

Chapter 6 "People Think It Will Be Very Bloody" 84

Chapter 7 "A Twilight Zone" 97

Chapter 8 "No, Sir, Boss" 114

Chapter 9 "A Pleasant Air of Verisimilitude" 126

Chapter 10 "We Are Sitting on a Volcano" 141

Chapter 11 "Cossacks, Riding Up and Down" 155

Chapter 12 "Happier Days for All Humanity" 172

Chapter 13 "Nothing to Lose but Their Miserable Lives" 186

Chapter 14 "The Great Liberal Leader of the World" 198

Chapter 15 "It Might Be All Right for You to Have Your Little Pocket Gun" 212

Chapter 16 "Like a River at Flood" 229

Chapter 17 "To Scold an Earthquake" 243

Chapter 18 "Reeked with Patriotism" 259

Chapter 19 "A Mending of Their Troubles" 273

Chapter 20 "The Lid Is Kept Screwed Down" 284

Chapter 21 "When the Man-World Is Mad for War" 295

Chapter 22 "History Will Count You Right" 311

Acknowledgments 325

Notes 331

Bibliography 361

Image Credits 365

Index 367

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