Between 1917 and 1923, the Russian Empire went through a series of revolutions to eliminate the autocratic government that had caused the Russian people to experience food shortages and increased inflation. It was basically a battle between the working-class Russian people and Russian Emperor Nicholas II.
Many hardships came upon the Russian people as a result of World War I. The Emperor was blamed for getting the people into the war, and for all the loses that were experienced as a result of the war. Furthermore, the Emperor was not happy with the new political parties being created by working people who wanted a better life and less authoritarian rule. He felt like their agenda would take power away from him, and he didn’t like that.
In the end, the Russian rebellion had successfully removed the Emperor from office by force. A provisional government was put in place of the previous autocratic government until the formation of the Soviet Union occurred. In 1922, the Soviet Union was recognized as an official country in the world. It was still a highly centralized government, but it did have a legislative body with several lawmakers.
The countries that were part of the Soviet Union included Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova, and others. The Soviet Union was eventually dissolved in 1991, which gave independence to the nations of the Soviet Union. Russia, of course, is still trying to take back certain countries that were in the Soviet Union, such as Ukraine. That is why they’re constantly at war with them.
The Russian Revolution was a fascinating movement in Russian history. A lot of people outside of Russia are not even familiar with the Russian Revolution and what it did for the Russian people. If you have an interest in this topic, then you should read some of the top books on the subject. We’ve gathered a list of those books for you to consider.
Our Best Picks
Below are the top 5 books on the Russian Revolution.
1) A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
The entire Russian Revolution took place from 1891 to 1924. Every single event of the Russian Revolution from beginning to end is captured in this book. The author, Orlando Figes, does a good job of describing the revolution in great detail, including all the strong social forces that pushed the revolution forward.
After Russian democracy failed in 1917, the Russian social forces were eager to fight the dictatorship and all the violence that came along with it. Some of the big names from the Russian Revolution are included in this book, such as Sergei Semenov, Maxim Gorky, Dmitri Oskin, General Brusilov, and Prince Lvov. You will learn which roles they played in the revolution.
The book is 960 pages long. The 100th-anniversary edition is the most recent edition. Check it out when you get a chance.
2) History of the Russian Revolution
Leon Trotsky is the author of this powerful 1040-page book that goes over the history of the Russian Revolution in great detail. In fact, he goes in-depth about the history of Russia in general. There has never been such a comprehensive book of Russian history ever written before.
Of course, the main focus of the book is on the Russian Revolution and the events which took place in 1917. It was the year when the Bolsheviks defeated the Romanovs, which was a huge turning point in the revolution. Trotsky appears to be friendlier toward the democratic side of the fight, so you will learn about the revolution from that perspective.
Trotsky goes into further detail about the events that inspired the revolution. The reader will be left with a clear understanding of why it happened and the significance of it. Any student of Russian history should read this 1040-page book.
3) The Russian Revolution
Richard Pipes has written a well-researched and documented book about the Russian Revolution. You can clearly tell from reading the book that Pipes does not like communism. He tries to be brave and courageous by attacking communism and using that as the basis for why the revolution was necessary.
Some of the subtopics mentioned in “The Russian Revolution” book include Bolsheviks overpowering the Mensheviks, the Soviet Revolutionaries, the Lefts, and the various social groups that were around at the time. Pipes even touches upon the topic of World War I and how it ended because the Russian Army surrendered to the Germany Army.
Pipes clearly knows his Russian history. Many people consider “The Russian Revolution” to be the main authority about the topic.
4) The Russian Revolution: A New History
Sean McMeekin wrote this 406-page book about the Russian Revolution. He is an award-winning historian who knows his Russian history quite well. His book describes the total transformation of Russia and how the Russian people were able to defeat tsarist leadership.
You’ll wonder how McMeekin became so knowledgeable on this topic because his book provides details that only people who lived the revolution would know. Apparently, he did a lot of research by taking a look at the Russian archives and certain files that have never been accessed before.
When you’re done reading the book, you’ll understand the old Russia a lot better and why certain events led to the revolution.
5) The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution
Here is a more recent book associated with the topic of the Russian Revolution. It is a 1096-page book written by Yuri Slezkine. Not only does it talk about the Russian Revolution in great detail, but it also describes the communistic aftermath and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.
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The book gets more personal because you learn about what residents living in Moscow apartments had to go through during the revolution. The book is particularly sensitive to Bolshevik believers, so let this be a warning in case you happen to be a Bolshevik believer.
The “House of Government” has already won several awards, including the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2017 and the 2018 PROSE Award in World history.