Monday, December 5, 2022

Review of "The Russian Revolution: 1917-1932," by Sheila Fitzpatrick

 Review of

The Russian Revolution: 1917-1932, by Sheila Fitzpatrick

Five out of five stars

An event that still reverberates in the world

 While there is a clear start to the revolution that overthrew the Russian monarchy, it was centuries in development. The Romanovs held the title Tsar of the Russian Empire from 1613 until 1917. Therefore, there was a great deal of history of the monarchy in Russia before it ended. Fitzpatrick spends some time setting the historical context, just enough to establish an understandable background.

 Fitzpatrick is also correct in putting forward the proposition that the revolution lasted much longer than the years until the Bolsheviks consolidated their hold over the land that became the Soviet Union. After the Civil War ended, the nation was in a terrible condition. One of the amazing facts was that the Soviet Union in the early twenties was less industrialized than it had been before the start of World War I.

 The Soviet leadership understood that the nation had to rapidly industrialize if it was to survive in the modern world. Therefore, the drastic and ruthless actions directed by Stalin were rightfully considered a continuation of the 1917 revolution in how they changed what was the Russian Empire.

 This is an excellent description of one of the most transformative events of the twentieth century. In less than two decades, a prostrate country that was broke and agrarian was transformed into an industrial giant capable of fighting off the most powerful military machine on the European continent. Recent Russian history has its roots in what happened over a century ago.

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