Popular Soviet History Books

17+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Soviet History

Discover the list of some best books written on Soviet History by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Soviet History highly popular among the readers worldwide.

4.3/5

Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s by Sheila Fitzpatrick

Here is a pioneering account of everyday life under Stalin, written by a leading authority on modern Russian history. Focusing on the urban population, Fitzpatrick depicts a world of privation, overcrowding, endless lines, and broken homes, in which the regime's promises of future socialist abundance rang hollowly. We read of a government bureaucracy that often turned life Here is a pioneering account of everyday life under Stalin, written by a leading authority on modern Russian history. Focusing on the urban population, Fitzpatrick depicts a world of privation, overcrowding, endless lines, and broken homes, in which the regime's promises of future socialist abundance rang hollowly. We read of a government bureaucracy that often turned life into a nightmare, and of how ordinary citizens tried to circumvent it. We also read of the secret police, whose constant surveillance was endemic at this time, and the waves of terror, like the Great Purges of 1937, which periodically cast society into turmoil.

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3.5/5

Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: A poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a revolutionary and finds a leadership role within a small group of marginal zealots. When the old world is unexpectedly brought down in a total A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: A poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a revolutionary and finds a leadership role within a small group of marginal zealots. When the old world is unexpectedly brought down in a total war, the band seizes control of the country, and the new regime it founds as the vanguard of a new world order is ruthlessly dominated from within by the former seminarian until he stands as the absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. But the largest country in the world is also a poor and backward one, far behind the great capitalist countries in industrial and military power, encircled on all sides. Shortly after seizing total power, Stalin conceives of the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the root-and-branch uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. To stand up to the capitalists he will force into being an industrialized, militarized, collectivized great power is an act of will. Millions will die, and many more will suffer, but Stalin will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? We think we know the story well. Remarkably, Stephen Kotkin’s epic new biography shows us how much we still have to learn. The product of a decade of scrupulous and intrepid research, Stalin contains a host of astonishing revelations. Kotkin gives an intimate first-ever view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography, bringing to the fore materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. He details Stalin’s invention of a fabricated trial and mass executions as early as 1918, the technique he would later impose across the whole country. The book places Stalin’s momentous decision for collectivization more deeply than ever in the tragic history of imperial Russia. Above all, Kotkin offers a convincing portrait and explanation of Stalin’s monstrous power and of Russian power in the world. Stalin restores a sense of surprise to the way we think about the former Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself.

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4.4/5

Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938 by Stephen F. Cohen

This classic biography carefully traces Bukharin's rise to and fall from power, focusing particularly on the development of his theories and programmatic ideas during the critical period between Lenin's death in 1924 and the ascendancy of Stalin in 1929.

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4.1/5

The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States by Ronald Grigor Suny

The West has always had a difficult time understanding the Soviet Union. For decades Americans have known a Soviet Union clouded by ideological passions and a dearth of information. Today, with the revelations under glasnost and the collapse of the Communist empire, Americans are now able to see the former Soviet Union as a whole, and explore the turbulent tale of a Soviet The West has always had a difficult time understanding the Soviet Union. For decades Americans have known a Soviet Union clouded by ideological passions and a dearth of information. Today, with the revelations under glasnost and the collapse of the Communist empire, Americans are now able to see the former Soviet Union as a whole, and explore the turbulent tale of a Soviet history that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. One of the eminent Soviet historians of our time, Ronald Grigor Suny takes us on a journey that examines the complex themes of Soviet history from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. He examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores the successor states and the challenges they now face. Combining gripping detail with insightful analysis, Suny focuses on three revolutions: the tumultuous year of 1917 when Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik takeover of the tsarist empire; the 1930s when Joseph Stalin refashioned the economy, the society, and the state; and the 1980s and 1990s when Mikhail Gorbachev's ambitious and catastrophic attempt at sweeping reform and revitalization resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union led by Boris Yeltsin. He unravels issues, explaining "deeply contradictory" policies toward the various Soviet nationalities, including Moscow's ambivalence over its own New Economic Policy of the 1920s and the attempts at reform that followed Stalin's death. He captures familiar as well as little-known events, including the movement of the crowds on the streets of St. Petersburg in the February revolution; Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's much-predicted invasion; and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding as he pushed the disintegration of the Soviet Union and faced down his rivals. Students and social scientists alike continue to be fascinated by the Soviet experiment and its meaning. The Soviet Experiment recovers the complexities and contradictions of the 70 years of Soviet Power, exploring its real achievements as well as its grotesque failings. Clearly written and well-argued, this narrative is complete with helpful anecdotes and examples that will not only engage students and offer them an opportunity to learn from new material but also afford them the opportunity to form their own opinions by reading the text and looking into the suggested readings. With insight and detail, Suny has constructed a masterful work, providing the fullest account yet of one of the greatest transformations of modern history.

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4.2/5

The Great Terror: A Reassessment by Robert Conquest

The definitive work on Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. Harrison Salisbury called it "brilliant...not only an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism, but a work of scholarship and literary craftsmanship." And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the former Soviet Union, where it The definitive work on Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. Harrison Salisbury called it "brilliant...not only an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism, but a work of scholarship and literary craftsmanship." And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the former Soviet Union, where it is now considered the definitive account of the period. When Conquest wrote the original volume, he relied heavily on unofficial sources. With the advent of glasnost, an avalanche of new material became available, and Conquest mined this enormous cache to write, in 1990, a substantially new edition of his classic work, adding enormously to the detail. Both a leading historian and a highly respected poet, Conquest blends profound research with evocative prose, providing not only an authoritative account of Stalin's purges, but also a compelling and eloquent chronicle of one of this century's most tragic events. He provides gripping accounts of everything from the three great "Moscow Trials," to methods of obtaining confessions, the purge of writers and other members of the intelligentsia, life in the labor camps, and many other key matters. On the fortieth anniversary of the first edition, in the light of further archival releases, and new material published in Moscow and elsewhere, it remains remarkable how many of Conquest's most disturbing conclusions have continued to bear up. This volume, featuring a new preface by Conquest, rounds out the picture of this huge historical tragedy, further establishing the book as the key study of one of the twentieth centurys most lethal, and longest-misunderstood,offenses against humanity.

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3.4/5

Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution by Richard Stites

The revolutionary ideals of equality, communal living, proletarian morality, and technology worship, rooted in Russian utopianism, generated a range of social experiments which found expression, in the first decade of the Russian revolution, in festival, symbol, science fiction, city planning, and the arts. In this study, historian Richard Stites offers a vivid portrayal o The revolutionary ideals of equality, communal living, proletarian morality, and technology worship, rooted in Russian utopianism, generated a range of social experiments which found expression, in the first decade of the Russian revolution, in festival, symbol, science fiction, city planning, and the arts. In this study, historian Richard Stites offers a vivid portrayal of revolutionary life and the cultural factors--myth, ritual, cult, and symbol--that sustained it, and describes the principal forms of utopian thinking and experimental impulse. Analyzing the inevitable clash between the authoritarian elements in the Bolshevik's vision and the libertarian behavior and aspirations of large segments of the population, Stites interprets the pathos of utopian fantasy as the key to the emotional force of the Bolshevik revolution which gave way in the early 1930s to bureaucratic state centralism and a theology of Stalinism.

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4.3/5

Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization by Stephen Kotkin

This study is the first of its kind: a street-level inside account of what Stalinism meant to the masses of ordinary people who lived it. Stephen Kotkin was the first American in 45 years to be allowed into Magnitogorsk, a city built in response to Stalin's decision to transform the predominantly agricultural nation into a "country of metal." With unique access to previous This study is the first of its kind: a street-level inside account of what Stalinism meant to the masses of ordinary people who lived it. Stephen Kotkin was the first American in 45 years to be allowed into Magnitogorsk, a city built in response to Stalin's decision to transform the predominantly agricultural nation into a "country of metal." With unique access to previously untapped archives and interviews, Kotkin forges a vivid and compelling account of the impact of industrialization on a single urban community. Kotkin argues that Stalinism offered itself as an opportunity for enlightenment. The utopia it proffered, socialism, would be a new civilization based on the repudiation of capitalism. The extent to which the citizenry participated in this scheme and the relationship of the state's ambitions to the dreams of ordinary people form the substance of this fascinating story. Kotkin tells it deftly, with a remarkable understanding of the social and political system, as well as a keen instinct for the details of everyday life. Kotkin depicts a whole range of life: from the blast furnace workers who labored in the enormous iron and steel plant, to the families who struggled with the shortage of housing and services. Thematically organized and closely focused, Magnetic Mountain signals the beginning of a new stage in the writing of Soviet social history.

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3.1/5

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder

Americans call the Second World War “The Good War.” But before it even began, America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens—and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war’s end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behi Americans call the Second World War “The Good War.” But before it even began, America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens—and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war’s end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness. Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history. From Booklist If there is an explanation for the political killing perpetrated in eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, historian Snyder roots it in agriculture. Stalin wanted to collectivize farmers; Hitler wanted to eliminate them so Germans could colonize the land. The dictators wielded frightening power to advance such fantasies toward reality, and the despots toted up about 14 million corpses between them, so stupefying a figure that Snyder sets himself three goals here: to break down the number into the various actions of murder that comprise it, from liquidation of the kulaks to the final solution; to restore humanity to the victims via surviving testimony to their fates; and to deny Hitler and Stalin any historical justification for their policies, which at the time had legions of supporters and have some even today. Such scope may render Snyder’s project too imposing to casual readers, but it would engage those exposed to the period’s chronology and major interpretive issues, such as the extent to which the Nazi and Soviet systems may be compared. Solid and judicious scholarship for large WWII collections.

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3.4/5

Stalin by Robert Service

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale b Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years. Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life--his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded. Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers--such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev--found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge. Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

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4.1/5

The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine by Robert Conquest

The Harvest of Sorrow is the first full history of one of the most horrendous human tragedies of the 20th century. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the abolition of private ownership of land and the concentr The Harvest of Sorrow is the first full history of one of the most horrendous human tragedies of the 20th century. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the abolition of private ownership of land and the concentration of the remaining peasants in party-controlled "collective" farms. This was followed in 1932-33 by a "terror-famine," inflicted by the State on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and certain other areas by setting impossibly high grain quotas, removing every other source of food, and preventing help from outside--even from other areas of the Soviet Union--from reaching the starving populace. The death toll resulting from the actions described in this book was an estimated 14.5 million--more than the total number of deaths for all countries in World War I. Ambitious, meticulously researched, and lucidly written, The Harvest of Sorrow is a deeply moving testament to those who died, and will register in the Western consciousness a sense of the dark side of this century's history.

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5/5

Red Plenty: Inside the Fifties' Soviet Dream by Francis Spufford

Once upon a time in the Soviet Union.... Strange as it may seem, the grey, oppressive USSR was founded on a fairytale. It was built on the twentieth-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950's, the magic see Once upon a time in the Soviet Union.... Strange as it may seem, the grey, oppressive USSR was founded on a fairytale. It was built on the twentieth-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950's, the magic seemed to be working. Red Plenty is about that moment in history, and how it came, and how it went away; about the brief era when, under the rash leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union looked forward to a future of rich communists and envious capitalists, when Moscow would out-glitter Manhattan, and every Lada would be better engineered than a Porsche. It's about the scientists who did their genuinely brilliant best to make the dream come true, it give the tyranny its happy ending. It's history, it's fiction. It's a comedy of ideas, and a novel about the cost of ideas. By award-winning (and famously unpredictable) author of The Child That Books Built and Backroom Boys, Red Plenty is as ambitious as Sputnik, as uncompromising as an Aeroflot flight attendant - and as different from what you were expecting as a glass of Soviet champagne.

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4.2/5

Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation by Alexei Yurchak

Soviet socialism was based on paradoxes that were revealed by the peculiar experience of its collapse. To the people who lived in that system the collapse seemed both completely unexpected and completely unsurprising. At the moment of collapse it suddenly became obvious that Soviet life had always seemed simultaneously eternal and stagnating, vigorous and ailing, bleak and Soviet socialism was based on paradoxes that were revealed by the peculiar experience of its collapse. To the people who lived in that system the collapse seemed both completely unexpected and completely unsurprising. At the moment of collapse it suddenly became obvious that Soviet life had always seemed simultaneously eternal and stagnating, vigorous and ailing, bleak and full of promise. Although these characteristics may appear mutually exclusive, in fact they were mutually constitutive. This book explores the paradoxes of Soviet life during the period of "late socialism" (1960s-1980s) through the eyes of the last Soviet generation. Focusing on the major transformation of the 1950s at the level of discourse, ideology, language, and ritual, Alexei Yurchak traces the emergence of multiple unanticipated meanings, communities, relations, ideals, and pursuits that this transformation subsequently enabled. His historical, anthropological, and linguistic analysis draws on rich ethnographic material from Late Socialism and the post-Soviet period. The model of Soviet socialism that emerges provides an alternative to binary accounts that describe that system as a dichotomy of official culture and unofficial culture, the state and the people, public self and private self, truth and lie--and ignore the crucial fact that, for many Soviet citizens, the fundamental values, ideals, and realities of socialism were genuinely important, although they routinely transgressed and reinterpreted the norms and rules of the socialist state.

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3.2/5

The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939 (Annals of Communism Series) by J. Arch Getty , Oleg V. Naumov , Benjamin Sher (Translator)

This gripping book assembles and translates into English for the first time top secret Soviet documents from 1932 to 1939, the era of the Stalin purges. The nearly 200 documents -- dossiers, police reports, private letters, secret transcripts, and more -- expose the hidden inner workings of the Communist Party and the dark inhumanity of the purge process.

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3.4/5

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes

It is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes prese It is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes presents a panorama of Russian society on the eve of that revolution, and then narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased. Within the broad stokes of war and revolution are miniature histories of individuals, in which Figes follows the main players' fortunes as they saw their hopes die and their world crash into ruins. Unlike previous accounts that trace the origins of the revolution to overreaching political forces and ideals, Figes argues that the failure of democracy in 1917 was deeply rooted in Russian culture and social history and that what had started as a people's revolution contained the seeds of its degeneration into violence and dictatorship. A People's Tragedy is a masterful and original synthesis by a mature scholar, presented in a compelling and accessibly human narrative.

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3.1/5

The Revolution Betrayed by Leon Trotsky , Max Eastman (Translation)

One of Marxism's most important texts, The Revolution Betrayed explores the fate of the Russian Revolution after Lenin's death. Written in 1936 and published the following year, this brilliant and profound evaluation of Stalinism from the Marxist standpoint prophesied the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent related events. The effects of the October Revolution led t One of Marxism's most important texts, The Revolution Betrayed explores the fate of the Russian Revolution after Lenin's death. Written in 1936 and published the following year, this brilliant and profound evaluation of Stalinism from the Marxist standpoint prophesied the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent related events. The effects of the October Revolution led to the establishment of a nationalized planned economy, demonstrating the practicality of socialism for the first time. By the 1930s, however, the Soviet workers' democracy had crumbled into a state of bureaucratic decay that ultimately gave rise to an infamous totalitarian regime. Trotsky employs facts, figures, and statistics to show how Stalinist policies rejected the enormous productive potential of the nationalized planned economy in favor of a wasteful and corrupt bureaucratic system. Six decades after the publication of this classic, the shattering of Stalinist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe has confused and demoralized countless political activists. The Revolution Betrayed offers readers of every political persuasion an insider's view of what went wrong.

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3.4/5

Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: A poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a revolutionary and finds a leadership role within a small group of marginal zealots. When the old world is unexpectedly brought down in a total A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: A poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a revolutionary and finds a leadership role within a small group of marginal zealots. When the old world is unexpectedly brought down in a total war, the band seizes control of the country, and the new regime it founds as the vanguard of a new world order is ruthlessly dominated from within by the former seminarian until he stands as the absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. But the largest country in the world is also a poor and backward one, far behind the great capitalist countries in industrial and military power, encircled on all sides. Shortly after seizing total power, Stalin conceives of the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the root-and-branch uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. To stand up to the capitalists he will force into being an industrialized, militarized, collectivized great power is an act of will. Millions will die, and many more will suffer, but Stalin will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? We think we know the story well. Remarkably, Stephen Kotkin’s epic new biography shows us how much we still have to learn. The product of a decade of scrupulous and intrepid research, Stalin contains a host of astonishing revelations. Kotkin gives an intimate first-ever view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography, bringing to the fore materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. He details Stalin’s invention of a fabricated trial and mass executions as early as 1918, the technique he would later impose across the whole country. The book places Stalin’s momentous decision for collectivization more deeply than ever in the tragic history of imperial Russia. Above all, Kotkin offers a convincing portrait and explanation of Stalin’s monstrous power and of Russian power in the world. Stalin restores a sense of surprise to the way we think about the former Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself.

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4.5/5

The Russian Anarchists by Paul Avrich , Pyotr Kropotkin (Quoted)

In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of “direct action”—workers’ control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society. Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to pr In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of “direct action”—workers’ control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society. Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to present a picture of the philosophers, bomb throwers, peasants, and soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of “Mother Russia.” Including the influence and ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, the armed uprisings of Makhno, the activities of Volin, Maximoff, and the attempted aid of Berkman and Emma Goldman. Paul Avrich is a retired professor of history at Queens College.

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