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I am avid student of history who has particular interest in WWI and the Russian Revolution. I have never been a big fan of Sean McMeekin (I have read a few of his books in print and also listened to July 1914- available through Audible). That being said, this book was really interesting and kept my attention. The books begins with a history of Russia in the 19th Century and what life was like in the various parts of the Tsarist empire and then follows through the tumultuous years of the Revolution of 1905, World War I and the fall of the monarchy followed by a discussion of how the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky seized power and eventually won the Civil War. At the beginning of the book, McMeekin takes the listener through a tour of the various parts of the empire by casting the listener into the role of a foreign visitor coming to Russia for the first time. This was a very unique manner for describing what Russian life was like under the Tsars and added greatly to the book. The discussions of the fall of Nicholas II and the Provision Government under Kerensky are also very well depicted and McMeekin sheds light on an alternative theory as to the events that led to the February Revolution. He also does a great job describing how following the July days of 1917 Alexander Kerensky had an opportunity to fortify his rule of Russia only to be driven paranoid the the fear of a right wing putsch. This paranoia led to his turning to the Bolshevik Part for support which eventually led to downfall in October 1917. The biggest issue with the book is that there are so many different actors who played a part in the 1917 revolutions that it can sometimes be overwhelming to a listener who has no background of in this aspect of Russian history. Nevertheless I found this to be a great book and I am glad I listened to it. The narration by Pete Larkin was decent but not great and I believe it would have been better if Derek Perkins had been the narrator.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I think I might have been better off reading this in print version. The story is compelling and very informative, but I struggled somewhat with keeping track of all the Russian characters names in the audio version.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful