October

  • by China Mieville
  • Narrated by John Banks
  • 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The renowned fantasy and science fiction writer China Mieville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution, and here, on the centenary of the revolution, he provides his own distinctive take on its history.
In February 1917, in the midst of bloody war, Russia was still an autocratic monarchy: nine months later it became the first socialist state in world history. How did this unimaginable transformation take place? How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions?
This is the story of the extraordinary months between those upheavals, in February and October, of the forces and individuals who made 1917 so epochal a year, of their intrigues, negotiations, conflicts and catastrophes. From familiar names like Lenin and Trotsky to their opponents Kornilov and Kerensky; from the byzantine squabbles of urban activists to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire; from the revolutionary railroad Sublime to the ciphers and static of coup by telegram; from grand sweep to forgotten detail.
Historians have debated the revolution for 100 years, its portents and possibilities: the mass of literature can be daunting. But here is a book for those new to the events, told not only in their historical import but in all their passion and drama and strangeness. Because as well as a political event of profound and ongoing consequence, Mieville reveals the Russian Revolution as a breathtaking story.

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What the Critics Say

"Even when he is orbiting somewhere in a galaxy too far away for normal human comprehension...Mieville is dazzling." (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not great storytelling

I've read/listened to all of CM's major books, some a few times. I'm a fan. However, this is not a good audiobook. It is dense, and hard to follow and digest in this format. Maybe the print version has section breaks or graphics that indicate different sections, I don't know. But in audio, there is no sense of this; the chapters are long and, as read, often feel like unending paragraphs. As a fan, I'm reluctant to say that it might be a structural problem with the narrative. I appreciate the author's reluctance to dumb things down, and erudition is part of CM's appeal, but I think you need a prior course or primer on the Revolution. I thought this book was going to be that introduction.

On the upside, I did learn very relevant things about Russia and Russian "democracy" (or lack thereof) today, not just the Revolution, and the book got me wanting to learn more.
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- Caveat Emptor

Toward a new October

In China Mieville's gifted hands he writes a story of October 1917 that places the reader within the story, and forces the reader to reconcile with the objective conditions of revolutionary Russia. Ultimately, the bankruptcy of Russian liberalism, the fragility of dual power, and the democratic vision and organization of the Bolsheviks led the masses towards the October Revolution. Mieville helps any revolutionary see how imperative it is to study the Bolsheviks, and how a revolutionary can learn from their successes and failures.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-09-2017
  • Publisher: Audible Studios