Between 1917 and 1921 a devastating struggle took place in Russia following the collapse of the Tsarist empire. Many regard this savage civil war as the most influential event of the modern era. An incompatible White alliance of moderate socialists and reactionary monarchists stood little chance against Trotsky's Red Army and Lenin's single-minded Communist dictatorship. Terror begat terror, which in turn led to even greater cruelty with man's inhumanity to man, woman and child. The struggle became a world war by proxy as Churchill deployed weaponry and troops from the British empire, while armed forces from the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Poland and Czechoslovakia played rival parts. Using the most up to date scholarship and archival research, Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed international bestseller Stalingrad, assembles the complete picture in a gripping narrative that conveys the conflict through the eyes of everyone from the worker on the streets of Petrograd to the cavalry officer on the battlefield and the woman doctor in an improvised hospital.
In this brilliant marshalling of a notoriously complex history, Antony Beevor opens up a magisterial canvas of terror and tragedy.
- Colin Thubron
A completely riveting account of how the Russian Revolution, which started with such high hopes and idealism, degenerated into a tangle of civil conflicts marked by hideous cruelty on all sides. Antony Beevor brings his great gifts for narrative and his deep interest in the people who both make history and suffer it to illuminate that crucial period whose consequences we are still living with today.
- Margaret MacMillan
Brilliant and utterly readable.
- Antonia Fraser
A magnificent piece of work - as superbly researched and original as Stalingrad, and compellingly told by a historian at the top of his powers. So much of the tragic story of Russia and the bloodlands of Eastern Europe over the past century make sense after reading Antony Beevor's epic and often shocking tale of revolution, civil war, oppression, starvation, brutality and shifting borders; if anyone needs to know why history matters, this book has the answers. Stunning.
- James Holland
Beevor, best known for his formidable book Stalingrad, commands authority as a historian because his research is comprehensive and his conclusions free of political agenda. He's a skilled writer, but his prose is not what makes his books special. Rather, it's the confidence that his authority conveys - one senses that he knows his subject as well as anyone. He allows his mountain of evidence to speak for itself, simply charting the course of this horrible war, exposing its boundless cruelty. This is easily the most horrifying war story I've ever read. One wonders how Russia could ever contain so much suffering.
- THE TIMES, Book of the Week
Antony Beevor's Russia is a masterpiece of history - and a harrowing lesson for today... This is a hugely complex story, and Beevor tells it supremely well. The book is groundbreaking in its use of original evidence from many archives; it adds new facts, tests old claims and demolishes myths on both sides. It is impressively objective..
- THE DAILY TELEGRAPH