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Russia -- History -- Revolution, 1917

The following sources are recommended by a professor whose research specialty is the Russian Revolution of 1917.


Six Superlative Sources

· Wade, Rex A. The Russian Revolution: 1917. Cambridge University Press, 2005. Recent general history of the revolution, reflecting the most recent scholarship and stressing the interaction of social and political currents in producing the revolution's outcome by the end of 1917. Described by reviewers as the best single-volume history available.

· 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 and an essential source.

· Rabinowitch, Alexander. The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Norton, 1976. Outstanding study of the Bolshevik Party enroute to the seizure of power and the October Revolution.

· Wildman, Allan K. The End of the Russian Imperial Army. Vol. 1, The Old Army and the Soldiers' Revolt (March-April 1917); Vol. 2, The Road to Soviet Power and Peace. Princeton University Press, 1980, 1987. These two volumes provide the best, and a detailed, account of the revolution in the army

· Figes, Orlando, and Boris Kolonitskii. Interpreting the Russian Revolution: The Language and Symbols of 1917. Yale University Press, 1999. An intriguing look at the use of language and symbolism in the revolution, especially the cult of Kerensky.

· Koenker, Diane, and William G. Rosenberg. Strikes and Revolution in Russia, 1917. Princeton University Press, 1989. Outstanding, if somewhat dense, study of the political and social impact of strikes during the revolution.

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 Civil War of 1918-22.

-- BIBLIOGRAPHIES (see also the very extensive bibliography in Wade, The Russian Revolution: 1917, above) --

· 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. An excellent annotated bibliography.


· Browder, Robert Paul, and Alexander F. Kerensky, eds. The Russian Provisional Government, 1917: Documents. 3 vols. Stanford University Press, 1961. Excellent collection of documents about the Provisional Government and 1917.

· Steinberg, Mark D. Voices of Revolution, 1917. Yale University Press, 2001. The perspective on the revolution from below, from workers, soldiers, and peasants.


· Frankel, Edith Rogovin, Jonathan Frankel, and Baruch Knei-Paz, eds. Revolution in Russia: Reassessments of 1917. Cambridge University Press, 1992. Excellent collection of articles by leading experts about the revolution.

· Service, Robert, ed. Society and Politics in the Russian Revolution. Macmillan, 1992. An excellent collection of essays by British scholars.

· Wade, Rex A., ed. Revolutionary Russia: New Approaches. Routledge, 2004. Collection of recent and especially important and innovative studies about the revolution.


· Abraham, Richard. Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution. Sidgwick and Jackson, 1987. Best biography of Kerensky.

· Galili, Ziva. The Menshevik Leaders in the Russian Revolution: Social Realities and Political Strategies. Princeton University Press, 1989. Good study of the Mensheviks in 1917.

· Harding, Neil. Lenin's Political Thought: Theory and Practice in the Democratic Revolution. Humanities Press, 1983. See annotation of next citation.

· Harding, Neil. Leninism. Duke University Press, 1996. Harding provides a somewhat controversial but stimulating look at Lenin's political thought and its relation to his political activities, stressing the role of ideology in Lenin's actions. Compare Harding's work with that of Robert Service, below.

· Knei-Paz, Baruch. The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky. Clarendon, 1979. Careful analysis of Trotsky's social and political ideas; an unusually objective study of a subject who has been mostly the object of hero worship or blind condemnation.

· Lieven, Dominic. Nicholas II: Twilight of the Empire. St. Martin's Press, 1994. Excellent biography of Nicholas, exploring his rule in the context of Russian history and institutions and the problems facing Russia at the time.

· Radkey, Oliver H. The Agrarian Foes of Bolshevism: Promise and Default of the Russian Socialist Revolutionaries, February to October 1917. Columbia University Press, 1958. See annotation of next citation.

· Radkey, Oliver H. The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule. Columbia University Press, 1963. Detailed account of the Socialist Revolutionary Party during 1917 and early 1918; very critical of the party leadership.

· Rosenberg, William G. Liberals in the Russian Revolution: The Constitutional Democratic Party, 1917-1921. Princeton University Press, 1974. The standard and excellent study of the Kadets in the revolution and civil war.

· Service, Robert. Lenin: A Political Life. 3 vols. Macmillan, 1985-1994. An excellent biography of Lenin, stressing his political activity and pragmatism. Compare this with the works of Harding, above.

· Service, Robert. Lenin: A Biography. Belknap Press, 2002. A shorter biography from the author of the three-volume set cited above.

· White, James D. Lenin: The Practice and Theory of Revolution. Palgrave, 2001. Very good shorter study of Lenin's life, ideas and actions.


· Figes, Orlando. A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution. Viking, 1997. Provocative and readable study of the revolutionary period, with special focus on the people rather than political leaders.

· 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.

· Khalid, Adeeb. The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia. University of California Press, 1998. An excellent study of the revolutionary era in Central Asia, especially Tashkent and the southern region.

· Lih, Lars T. Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914-1921. University of California Press, 1990. Excellent study of the relationship between the food crises and the broader political and social crises during war, revolution, and civil war.

· 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.

-- 1917 AND EARLY 1918 --

· Daniels, Robert V. Red October: The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Scribner, 1967. A good history of October, with special emphasis upon the day-to-day events and accidents leading to the Bolshevik Revolution; a very readable account by an excellent historian.

· Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. The February Revolution: Petrograd, 1917. University of Washington Press, 1981. Best account of the February Revolution, including an extensive section on the coming of the revolution.

· Hickey, Michael C. "Local Government and State Authority in the Provinces: Smolensk, February-June 1917." Slavic Review 35, no. 1 (1996): 863-81. One of a series of excellent essays on the revolution via focus on the city of Smolensk. For other essays, see the listing in Wade, The Russian Revolution, above.

· Keep, John L.H. The Russian Revolution: A Study in Mass Mobilization. Norton, 1976. Looks especially at the role of various organizations (soviets, factory committees, etc.) and how the Bolsheviks were able to use them to gain and then consolidate power in 1917 and early 1918.

· Koenker, Diane. Moscow Workers and the 1917 Revolution. Princeton University Press, 1981. Excellent study of the revolution in Moscow, focused on the industrial workers.

· Mawdsley, Evan. The Russian Revolution and the Baltic Fleet: War and Politics, February 1917 - April 1918. Macmillan, 1978. Good study of the important Baltic Fleet.

· Melancon, Michael. "The Syntax of Soviet Power: The Resolutions of Local Soviets and Other Institutions, March-October 1917." Russian Review 52, no. 4 (1993): 486-505. Good account of the political struggles at the local level, one of a series of important articles by Melancon; for others, see Wade, The Russian Revolution, above.

· Rabinowitch, Alexander. Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising. Indiana University Press, 1968. Outstanding study of the Bolshevik Party in the early months after the revolution.

· Raleigh, Donald J. Revolution on the Volga: 1917 in Saratov. Cornell University Press, 1986. Excellent study, and the best book on the revolution in an ethnically Russian province.

· Sanders, Jonathan. Russia 1917: The Unpublished Revolution. Abbeville Press, 1989. Excellent collection of photographs from 1917; gives a good visual image of the revolution.

· Saul, Norman E. Sailors in Revolt: The Russian Baltic Fleet in 1917. Regents Press of Kansas, 1978. Very good history of the important Baltic Fleet sailors.

· Smith, S.A. Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories, 1917-18. Cambridge University Press, 1983. Perhaps the best account of the revolution among the industrial workers of Petrograd.

· Suny, Ronald G. The Baku Commune, 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution. Princeton University Press, 1972. Excellent study of the complexities of nationality, class, religion, and politics during the revolution.

· Wade, Rex A. Red Guards and Worker's Militias in the Russian Revolution. Stanford University Press, 1984. Explores worker self-assertiveness through the most militant worker organization of 1917 and the workers' interaction with the political parties.

· Wade, Rex A. The Russian Search for Peace, February-October 1917. Stanford University Press, 1969. A study of the interaction of revolutionary politics and foreign policy in 1917.

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