An important history of the Russian Revolution in a collection of incredible eyewitness accounts that redefines the origins of the USSR, and stands as a testament to ordinary people’s courage against the cruelty of war.
This book dramatically reveals, in a chronological story through eye-witness accounts, how the Russian Empire fell in 1917 to a handful of revolutionaries unknown to the masses. It demonstrates the role of Germany supporting the revolutionaries in an attempt to undermine the regime it was unable to defeat on the battlefield. And, it shows the role of the US in financing the revolutionaries in order to get exclusive exploitation rights and contracts mainly for oil and coal.
Prince Felix Yusupov tells of the night that he, along with others, killed the notorious Rasputin. Tatyana Botkina, daughter of the Czar’s personal physician, witnessed her father, along with the Czar and his family, driven from exile to execution. P. N. Malyantovich, Justice Minister of the provisional government, recalls the night that the provisional government was overthrown, and he and the other members of that government had their lives threatened by an armed mob. Varvara Levitova, a volunteer nurse who was shot in the battles between the Whites and the Reds, recounts the horrors of the frontline where Russian battled Russian.
The witnesses question commonly held assumptions about the revolution. Was Czar Nicholas II an incompetent and aloof autocrat bent on preserving his own power? Was Lenin a brilliant and popular leader of a popular revolution? Were the people truly clamoring for a revolution to transform Russia into a classless society? From these stories the reality of the Russian Revolution is revealed and we can see the Czar and Lenin, the battles, and the secret meetings, the people, and the events that changed tbe world.
Heresch (The Empire of the Tsars) proffers an exciting but raw, and at times confusing, account of the 1917 October Revolution, one that compiles the testimonies of eyewitnesses ranging from dignitaries and journalists to bystanders. Heresch hardly challenges or even really contextualizes their observations as voice after voice registers reactions to events that preceded and followed the Revolution Russia's entry into WWI, the 1916 murder of the royal family's confidant Rasputin, Czar Nicholas II's abdication in February 1917, Lenin's departure to Petrograd from Zurich, the storming of the Winter Palace, and the post-October period. Black-and-white photographs, handwritten letters, and newspaper reprints interspersed throughout give additional flavor. Heresch intervenes now and then to remind readers that the Russian "masses" did not organize or even desire revolution; as one remembrance of the declaration of war puts it, "There was not a single thought of revolution, strikes, or anarchy." This book, one of many having appeared in the wake of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, offers myriad, kaleidoscopic fragments for the diligent, interested reader to sort through, but does not make a cohesive narrative or argument. \n