THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION—FROM THE TSARS TO THE SOVIETS
This economic, political, and social study by a distinguished Russian authority uses a wealth of contemporary evidence—state documents, memoirs, correspondence, statistics—to analyze “the forces which brought about the fall of the Tsars and paved the way for Bolshevism” in the crucial years 1914-1917.
Beginning with a survey of the state of the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I, Professor Florinsky shows how the Imperial system failed to meet the challenges raised by that conflict and why the Bolsheviks were able to assume control of the national Revolution.
Every aspect of the collapse is scrutinized, from the absolutist tradition inherited by Nicholas II to the estrangement of the intelligentsia, from the peasant masses, whose only aims were peace and land. The principals are strikingly portrayed—Tsar Nicholas, Tsaritsa Alexandra, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, and Rasputin—as are the breakdown of the ministerial bureaucracy, the impotence of the Duma and Union of Zemstvos, and the colossal losses of the army. This richly documented account of the Provisional Government’s failure to meet the nation’s Revolutionary goals and of the Bolsheviks’ spectacular success in formulating and giving voice to Russian aspirations is basic to an understanding of the origins of today’s Soviet state.
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About the Author
He studied at the University of Kiev Law School in his native city and, at the outbreak of World War I, received an artillery commission. He was wounded in action and decorated four times before the 1918 Revolution.
Following the Bolshevik takeover, he settled in England in 1921 to study at the London School of Economics and Kings College, London. Through Paul Vinogradov, the historian of Oxford, he became associated with the Economic and Social History of the World War, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for which he edited 12 volumes on Russia.
He came to the United States as a Columbia student in 1926. He received his master’s degree in 1927 and his doctorate in 1931. He was appointed a full professor in 1956.
He retired in 1963 and moved to Vevey in Switzerland, where he produced his major work that year, the two-volume Russia: A History and an Interpretation. The publication had gone through 10 editions at his death. He is also the author of many other books, including Russia: A Short History and Integrated Europe? He was also the editor of The Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union; Commercial and Tariff History of the Principal European Countries; and The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union.
Prof. Florinsky died in Switzerland in 1981 aged 86.