Synopses & Reviews
"One of the deans of American historians of Russia, Richard Pipes savors the pleasant taste of vindication. The opening of the Soviet archives has proved him right on almost every major issue including the central one, the criminality of the Bolshevik regime. Only a couple of dozen American historians, with not only their careers but also their very reasons for being at stake, continue to oppose him, calling his views 'totalitarian' and their own something wholesome which cannot, they declare, be reduced to labels. In this Concise History, Pipes presents a summary of the views he expressed in The Russian Revolution and The Bolshevik Regime. If he remains a bit strident at times, and so hostile to leftist intellectuals—Russian and Western—that one begins to feel just a wee bit of sympathy for them, he has the best of all arguments on his side: history as it was, and is." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Richard Pipes's authoritative history of the "violent and disruptive acts" that created the first modern totalitarian regime portrays the crisis at the heart of the tsarist empire. Drawing on archival materials newly released in Russia, he chronicles the upheaval that began as a conservative revolt but was soon captured by messianic intellectuals intent not merely on reforming Russia but on remaking the world. He provides fresh accounts of the revolution's personalities and policies, crises, and cruelties, from the murder of the royal family through civil war, famine, and state terror. Brilliantly and persuasively, Pipes shows us why the resulting system owes less to the theories of Marx than it did to the character of Lenin and Russia's long authoritarian tradition. What ensues is a path-clearing work that is indispensable to any understanding of the events of the century.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -416) and index.