Monday, July 3, 2017

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge

Helen Rappaport

It took me months to finish this book, but it was mostly my fault. I've been in a bit of a reading slump, and anything about Russia probably wasn't going to get me out of it. That being said, this was quite a unique subject and an interesting read.

Rappaport has put together the stories of some of the foreign nationals who lived in Russia right at the tail end of WWI, around the time of their communist revolution a la Lenin. There aren't a lot of first-hand accounts available from this very specific time period and from this specific group of people, but the author manages to put what she found together in a compelling narrative. The people she is referencing are from America, the UK, France, etc so their point of view varies from seeing the revolutions as a waste of life and resources by a confused people, to highly idealistic and hopeful philosophical musings. I found the accounts of the reporters the most compelling since they were always getting right into the middle of things, witnessing the bloody reality of the revolutions.

The only thing I found lacking was a deeper understanding of the revolution, what was happening and why. Although I think that might have more to do with the chaotic nature of the beast, since there didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason for how things played out in general. The books hops from event to event but I never felt the cohesiveness of relating it all together.

Overall this was a very interesting read, but I'm sure it would have even more meaning if you knew more about the background of the events.

Copy courtesy of St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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