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Russia -- History -- Civil War, 1918-22

The following sources are recommended by a professor whose research specialty is the Russian Civil War of 1918-22.


Six Superlative Sources

· Acton, Edward, Vladimir I. Cherniaev, and William G. Rosenberg, eds. Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914-1921. Indiana University Press, 1997. Outstanding collection of essays by prominent scholars -- one of the best collections.

· Holquist, Peter. Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921. Harvard University Press, 2002. Uses the Don Cossack military regiments as the vehicle for an innovative and insightful study of the revolutionary era.

· David-Fox, Michael. Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning Among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1921. Cornell University Press, 1997. Excellent study of the new Bolshevik institutions of higher learning that attempted to create a new political and intellectual elite for the new state.

· Figes, Orlando. Peasant Russia, Civil War: The Volga Countryside in Revolution, 1917-1921. Clarendon, 1989. Fine study of the revolution and civil war in rural Russia.

· Koenker, Diane, William G. Rosenberg, and Ronald G. Suny, eds. Party, State, and Society in the Russian Civil War. Indiana University Press, 1989. Excellent collection by foremost specialists, focused on social history and the interaction of politics and society.

· Suny, Ronald G. The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Stanford University Press, 1993. Outstanding account of the role of nationalism in the revolution and its impact on the end of the Soviet Union, yet brief and readable.

Other Excellent Sources

-- WEB LINKS (the following are good, mostly university-based guides to sources about Russian history and Russia generally) --

· Akino, Yutaka. Link Collection. Slavic Research Center, Hokudai University.

· Documents in Russian History: An On-Line Sourcebook. Seton Hall University.

· Electronic Resources for Russian and East European Studies. University of Sussex.

· History of the Soviet Union: Links. University of East Anglia.

· REESWeb: The World Wide Web Virtual Library for Russian and East European Studies. Center for Russian and East European Studies, University Center for International Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh.

· Russian History Resources. Bucknell University.

· Sher, Benjamin. Sher's Russian Index.

· Von Geldern, James, Lewis Siegelbaum, and Krzystof Karski. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.

· See also: The Infography about the Russian Revolution.


· Frame, Murray, compiler. The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921: A Bibliographic Guide to Works in English. Greenwood Press, 1995. A comprehensive listing of articles and books.

· Smele, Jonathan D. The Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921: An Annotated Bibliography. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003. Excellent annotated bibliography.


· Rosenberg, William G. Bolshevik Visions: First Phase of the Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. 2 vols. University of Michigan Press, 1990. Valuable collection of early Bolshevik writings about the visions for a new society.

· Wade, Rex A. Documents of Soviet History. Vol. 1, The Triumph of Bolshevism, 1917-1919; Vol. 2, Triumph and Retreat, 1920-1922; Vol. 3, Lenin's Heirs, 1923-1925. Academic International Press, 1991-1995. Extensive collection of documents on the civil war era.


· Gleason, Abbott, Peter Kenez, and Richard Stites, eds. Bolshevik Culture: Experimentation and Order in the Russian Revolution. Indiana University Press, 1985. Very good collection of essays about the efforts at cultural transformation by prominent scholars during the early Bolshevik era.

· Hunczak, Taras, ed. The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution. Harvard University Press, 1977. Essays on the revolution and civil war in Ukraine; very good.


· Abramson, Henry. A Prayer for the Government: Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times, 1917-1920. Harvard University Press, 1999.

· Chamberlin, William Henry. The Russian Revolution, 1917-1921. Princeton University Press, 1987. First published by Macmillan, 1935. The classic account of the revolution and civil war, still one of the best, although a bit dated.

· Getzler, Israel. Kronstadt, 1917-1921: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy. Cambridge University Press, 1983. The story of the Kronstadt sailors, one of the most radical elements of the revolution; focuses especially on 1917-1918.

· Mally, Lynn. The Culture of the Future: The Proletkult Movement in Revolutionary Russia 1917-1922. University of California Press, 1990. Very good account of the most important of the visionary movements that intended to create a new society through cultural transformation.

· McAuley, Mary. Bread and Justice: State and Society in Petrograd, 1917-1922. Clarendon, 1991. A study of the interrelation of social and political factors during early Bolshevik rule and how they shaped the Soviet state.

· Read, Christopher. From Tsar to Soviets: The Russian People and Their Revolution, 1917-21. Oxford University Press, 1996. Perhaps the best modern one-volume account of the revolution and civil war, although not the easiest reading.

· Service, Robert. The Bolshevik Party in Revolution: A Study in Organizational Change, 1917-1923. Macmillan, 1979. Focuses on the organizational structure and evolution of the Bolshevik Party in response to the demands of revolution, power, and governance.

· Stites, Richard. Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution. Oxford University Press, 1989. Looks at the visionary aspects of revolutionary Russia, especially 1917 and the civil war.

· Swain, Geoff. The Origins of the Russian Civil War. Longman, 1996. Traces the origins of the civil war back to the second half of 1917, but focuses on 1918; excellent for discussion of the complexity of the opposition to the Bolsheviks, especially the often overlooked role of the moderate socialists.


· Avrich, Paul. Kronstadt, 1921. Princeton University Press, 1970. Best account of the Kronstadt revolt, with documents.

· Benvenuti, Francesco. The Bolsheviks and the Red Army, 1918-1922. Cambridge University Press, 1988. Excellent study of the building of the Red Army, focused on the controversies within the Communist Party about the army.

· Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Commissariat of Enlightenment: Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts under Lunacharsky, October 1917-1921. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Good exposition of educational and artistic policies and activities, the effort at "enlightenment" of the Russian people, during the optimistic first years.

· Gerson, Leonard. The Secret Police in Lenin's Russia. Temple University Press, 1976. Origins of the secret police, emphasizing Lenin's role.

· Kenez, Peter. Civil War in South Russia, 1918-20. 2 volumes. University of California Press, 1971-77. One of the best accounts of the civil war, and indispensable for the study of the South Russian campaigns, the White armies, and General Denikin.

· Leggett, George. The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police: The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage. Oxford University Press, 1981. Origins and development of the secret police, with emphasis upon Lenin's role but also upon the involvement of others such as the Left SR Party.

· Lincoln, W. Bruce. Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War. Simon and Schuster, 1989. A good history of the civil war that is very readable.

· Malle, Silvana. The Economic Organization of War Communism, 1918-1921. Cambridge University Press, 1985. Examines the economic policies of the Soviet regime under War Communism; excellent.

· Mawdsley, Evan. The Russian Civil War. Allen and Unwin, 1987. Very good history of the civil war, especially strong on the military aspects.

· Pereira, Norman G.O. White Siberia: The Politics of Civil War. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996. The civil war in Siberia, with emphasis on the White governments.

· Pipes, Richard. The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923. Harvard University Press, 1964. Classic account of the nationality question and the formation of the Soviet Union.

· Raleigh, Donald J. Experiencing Russia's Civil War: Politics, Society, and Revolutionary Culture in Saratov, 1917-1922. Princeton University Press, 2002. Thoughtful and innovative examination of the civil war via detailed look at how it played out in one city and province.

· Remington, Thomas F. Building Socialism in Bolshevik Russia: Ideology and Industrial Organization, 1917-1921. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1984. Excellent study of War Communism and the interplay of ideology and practicality in early Soviet economic policies.

· Rigby, T.H. Lenin's Government: Sovnarkom, 1917-1922. Cambridge University Press, 1979. A careful study of how the early Soviet government developed and functioned in the context of civil war and War Communism.

· Sakwa, Richard. Soviet Communists in Power: A Study of Moscow during the Civil War, 1918-1921. St. Martin's Press, 1988. Contributes significantly to understanding of the development of Bolshevik policies during the civil war.

· Smele, Jonathan. Civil War in Siberia: The Anti-Bolshevik Government of Admiral Kolchak, 1918-1920. Cambridge University Press, 1996. Exhaustive, detailed account of the civil war in Siberia, focused on Kolchak's regime.

· Smith, Jeremy. The Bolsheviks and the National Question, 1917-1923. St. Martin's Press, 1999. Perceptive discussion of the development of a Bolshevik policy on the explosive nationality question and how that led to the formation of the USSR.

· Von Geldern, James. Bolshevik Festivals, 1917-1920. University of California Press, 1993. Looks at how the Bolsheviks and their supporters celebrated their vision of a new world and attempted to legitimize the new regime though public festivals and myths.


· Debo, Richard K. Revolution and Survival: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1917-1918. University of Toronto Press, 1970.

· Debo, Richard K. Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918-1921. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992. The best account of Soviet foreign policy of this period.

· Fogelsong, David S. America's Secret War against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920. University of North Carolina Press, 1995. An insightful account of American intervention.

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