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

Exceptional!

I highly recommend this to anyone looking to understand the eventful year of 1917 in revolutionary Russia.
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- Tony Udell

"Insurrection has strange triggers..."

...and so do the reasons for listening/reading this book. If you're looking for a book about what happens AFTER the revolution of October 1917, look elsewhere.

Great narration, but dense content for my mind. I listen while driving and at points had to either not pay as much attention to the book as I wanted to, or pull over to absorb the words and speeches more deeply; many times requiring the need to go back a chapter or two to find and re-listen to important paragraphs that, later on, take on contrary, ironic, and/or more powerful meanings.

China writes nonfiction in a similar voice to his fiction to great effect. The Bolshevik party plays the main-ish protagonist, as they (spoiler) eventually gain power. But, every party and player has a seat at the table, there is even some in-depth explanation and context of pre-soviet Jewish and Muslim law and order. (pretty much new information to me.)

The book, I feel, doesn't follow a traditional dramatic structure; alternating through build-up, conflict, resolution, conflict, build-up, conflict, resolution, conflict, build-up, and resolution. Needless to say, the events previous to and following 1917 are filled with conflict, much of it springing from little provocation.

If you're interested in Russian history, even world history, you're in good hands. I found myself making connections with present political, social, and military strife more times than I was comfortable with. Still, as any student of history knows, anyone who is capable of getting themselves into power (All power to the soviet!) should on no account be allowed to stay in power, and "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

So, listen and share your copy with your friends... you might surprise yourself how often you can relate to Lenin, Trotsky, and Kerensky. John Banks will at least have you calling out "All power to the soviet!" by the end.
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- Paul Robison

Book Details

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