Stephen Smith is Professor of History at the University of Essex. He works on the social history of the Russian and Chinese revoltuions and is author of Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories, 1917-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1983), and A Road is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-27 (Curzon Press, 2000).
The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introductionby S. A. Smith
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This Very Short 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 politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favour of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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This is an extremely readable and comprehensive survey of the Russian Revolution, from the Czar to the death of Lenin and rise of Stalin. It is somewhat sketchy on the details of the Russian Civil War, and why the Communists won, but explains the political, economic and social aspects of the revolution and its immediate aftermath very well.