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  • Russia

  • Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921
  • By: Antony Beevor
  • Narrated by: Rob Heaps
  • Length: 22 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Summary

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 best seller 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Antony Beevor (P)2022 Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Critic reviews

"The book is a masterpiece." (The Spectator)

"A gripping narrative history of one of the most complex episodes in modern Russian history." (Sunday Times)

"Antony Beevor's Russia is a masterpiece of history." (Daily Telegraph)

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Hard Going!

This is both a wonderful and terrible book at the same time. Wonderfully comprehensive, written and narrated. Terrible in hearing of man's total depravity sinking lower than animals. I listened to it travelling around the Highlands of Scotland and Isle of Skye where the contrast between the beauty of God's creation and man's barbarity was made so much the more stark. I would highly recommend this book but be prepared for the hard going of its theme.

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Superb analysis

Lays bare the cruelty of Civil War, the extreme Bolshevik methods, subsequent Nazi "learning"

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A compelling, energetic and enjoyable history

This is a tremendous effort by Beevor to narrate a period of history that is both complex, at times heart breaking and always relentless.

The text is well organised and captures the international aspects of the conflict. It offers an unvarnished view of all sides superbly.

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Stunning

A fantastic work, brutally exposing the horrific violence triggered in 1917 that laid the foundations of decades of misery & suffering, the ramifications of which are still influencing the world today.

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Difficult to follow. Dull narration.

Interesting topic and very well researched. It is thought provoking to see how common humanity and decency very quickly become the victims of a civil conflict. The magnitude and implications of this war seem to have been forgotten to a great extent, mainly due to the advent of WW2. As an audiobook, it is difficult to follow, and at times it seems to lack structure. The narration is rather dull, but this might be down to the way the book is written. I would still recommend it, due to the phenomenal research carried out by the author,l.

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A brutal and forensic account

During lockdown I read numerous books on Russia, Stalin and of course Putin. It was no surprise when he invaded (special manoeuvres my a*se) the Ukraine, the history is there, and Putin had a love of the Ukrania.

I listened to Antony at the Hay Festival 2022, his knowledge of Russia is astounding and totally captivating. I had to buy the book, alas I decided to listen to it instead as I was travelling – but it was handy to have the book as well for reference.

This is forensic beyond belief; I will confess to getting lost amongst all the army divisions and (to a degree) who was fighting who at times. But the brutality was not lost in this book, the descriptions were harrowing and shocking. Thanks to this and other similar books before this, my understanding of this period of history has improved – even if some of it is hard to believe. It is no wonder that Russia has gone backwards, they love an autocrat..!!

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Good but too much focus on the whites.

A great book but I wish Beevor had done more to explain why the Bolsheviks gained so much support. He seems to focus more on the whites and why they lost but he doesn't in my opinion really give enough attention to why they faced such opposition from the working class despite the red army's brutality. That's not to say that he isn't fair in explaining the whites committed atrocities too and he doesn't gloss over this in anyway. It's just I don't feel as though Beevor has properly given his opinion as to why the revolution happened and why even after all the savagery of the reds people remained commited to the Bolsheviks. He explains that the Bolsheviks were more organised and unified than the whites but this doesn't explain the fanaticism and hatred your average rank and file red army soldier had for the whites. it also doesn't explain how their numbers grew so large and how they were able to maintain such commitment to the cause. I refuse to believe it was only fear of reprisals from the checka that kept the red army together. Overall it's a good read, it's a long complex and difficult history but I feel I understand the history better now. I definitely know more about the whites and allied intervention than before I started this book.

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Prince Charles should read this book

An excellent account of the horrors of the Russian Civil War, which Prince Charles would do well to read so he might talk somewhat more sensibly about historical events.