Multi-award-winning author China Miéville captures the drama of the Russian Revolution in this “engaging retelling of the events that rocked the foundations of the twentieth century” (Village Voice)
In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at the vanguard of global revolution. How did this unimaginable transformation take place?
In a panoramic sweep, stretching from St. Petersburg and Moscow to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire, Miéville uncovers the catastrophes, intrigues and inspirations of 1917, in all their passion, drama and strangeness. Intervening in long-standing historical debates, but told with the reader new to the topic especially in mind, here is a breathtaking story of humanity at its greatest and most desperate; of a turning point for civilization that still resonates loudly today.
Mi ville (The Last Days of New Paris) marks the centenary of Russia's dual 1917 revolutions with this vivid and insightful study of the journey from the February Revolution, which "dispensed breakneck with a half-millennium of autocratic rule," to Lenin's October triumph. Situating these eight turbulent months within the city of St. Petersburg, the czarist capital and the birthplace of the uprisings, Mi ville writes that the story is "above all the story of its streets." He leads readers through these streets and the complicated relationships between competing, and often violently opposed, groups of radicals old and new Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries, and others from workers' strikes through Lenin's proclamation of socialism and Russian withdrawal from WWI. Mi ville is fully aware of the horrors that followed this massive achievement but convincingly argues that the Russian Revolution's "degradation was not a given"; its formative moments carried immense potential for every kind of human liberation, which could so easily have become the dominant force of the new order. As an acclaimed storyteller with a doctorate in political philosophy and a commitment to leftist activism, Mi ville is an ideal guide through this complex historical moment, giving agency to obscure and better-known participants alike, and depicting the revolution as both a tragically lost opportunity and an ongoing source of inspiration.