Regarded as one of the most important events in history, particularly in Russian and Political History, the Russian Revolution was nightmarish, ground-breaking, and resulted in nothing but chaos in the lives of millions. The Russian Revolution began in the year 1917 and lasted up to 1923, and amidst this period, there was chaos, numerous deaths, cold, hunger, and of course, events that became history. Thankfully there were Political Leaders and authors who witnessed the Revolution from their point of view and presented it to the world.
Today, there are indeed many celebrated works that put a major emphasis on Russian Revolution, and it is these books that take us back to the times when the original Revolution took place. If you are hoping to get a deeper insight into this Social and Political Revolution, then you should definitely read these books. Here are the top-10 books focusing directly on the Russian Revolution that are absolutely a must-read for all.
1. History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky
One of the most powerful works of history, especially when it comes to Russian History, History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky, is a must-read if you want to dive in deep into the history of the “Russian Revolution.” Focusing on the first two months of 1917, when Russia was still under Romanov monarchy, eight months later when the Bolsheviks stood at the helm, things began to change drastically. A sharp turn in history which involved the fate of 150 million people of the nation, the ground-breaking events gave the Russian Revolution a new turn that brought back a question, was everything going to get better, or perhaps even worse?
Originally published in three parts, Trotsky’s masterpiece is collected here in a single volume and remains the most inspiring record of the Russian Revolution to date.
2. Through the Russian Revolution by Albert Rhys Williams
An important book focusing on the Russian Revolution, Albert’s Through the Russian Revolution, is a remarkable work that will give you a closer look into the times when the Russian Revolution was at its peak, and thousands of people were suffering under its consequences. Set in the year 1917, when the social and economic fabric of the land was shot to pieces, millions of people were fighting hunger and cold.
From the deliberate policies of the Russian autocracy, where the people of the country were steeped in ignorance, narcotized by the church, terrorized by the Black Hundreds, dragooned by the Cossacks, to exploring chaos caused by corrupt ministers and notorious monks like Rasputin, you will explore so much of the time that was horrific and failed human beliefs.
3. Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed
John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook the World is regarded as a very important work while studying the Russian Revolution because it throws much light on the Revolucion in Russia during 1917 that the author experienced himself. By following many of the Bolshevik leaders closely during his time in Russia, Reed presents a straightforward account of the Revolution and provides details of the time when the Bolsheviki, at the head of the workers and soldiers, seized the state power of Russia and placed it in the hands of the Soviets.
Although Reed died in 1920, shortly after finishing this book, his firsthand experiences and intimate views regarding the Russian Revolution are incomparable to date.
4. Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale
Another book on this list that records some of the most important events of the Russian Revolution, Catherine Merridale’sLenin on the Train, focuses mainly on the event of abdication of Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the revolt of Vladimir Lenin. Set in the times when the whole of Europe was war-torn, the future leader of the Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Lenin immediately resolved to return to Petrograd and lead the revolt that would change the situation further in the future. The main challenge lay in the fact that Lenin had to cross Germany to reach Russia, and for that, he had to accept help from the deadliest of Russia’s adversaries, but was Lenin able to find a different way? From German regression to the destabilization of Russia, this book will take readers on a consequential journey, particularly a train journey, that changed the world and gave the Russian Revolution a new turn.
5. The State and Revolution by Vladimir Lenin
A book was written by Vladimir Lenin himself, which was published in the year 1917; State and Revolution is another popular work focusing on the social and political aspects of the Russian Revolution that affected millions and made history. Lenin in his work, describes the role of the State in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution. From describing the inherent nature of the State as a tool for class oppression, a creation born of one social class’s desire to control all other social classes, from dictatorship to democracy, from the social class to the ruling class, every important factor is brought together in this brilliant work of communist Revolution.
For those readers who want to have a better glimpse of the Social, Economic, and Political conditions during the times of the Russian Revolution, State and Revolution is a must-read for them.
6. Rasputin by Douglas Smith
A personification of evil in human form, Rasputin is brought to life after a hundred years by Douglas Smith, unearthing the secrets of his rise to the throne and his sinister influence behind the eventual downfall of the Romanov dynasty. Rasputin mysteriously rose to power as Nicholas and Alexandra’s confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne, but with time, his evil intentions and sinister political influence began to get highlighted, and with that came the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.
It still is shocking to imagine how a man can be as shrewd and sinister as Rasputin! The more you read, the more you will get amazed; perhaps you will find your best villain character in him. In Rasputin by Smith, you will explore the life and death of one of the most controversial characters of Russian history and cannot help but admire this brilliant work of reimagining history.
7. The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport
Helen Rappaport’s The Romanov Sisters features the tale of the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century, the four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses―Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia Romanov, who was leading a privileged lifestyle they deserved unless the Russian Revolution began. This heart-touching tale of four sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 will provide you a better glimpse of the scenario and closely witness their nightmares turn to reality.
The ominous approach of the Russian Revolution was all that was needed to sweep everything away that once belonged to the Romanov dynasty, and the tragic death of these young royals shall remain as an important event, even though history has failed to acknowledge it. Helen Rappaport takes this challenging task and presents the story of these four sisters depending extensively on unseen or unpublished letters, diaries, and archival sources, as well as private collections.
8. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution (1891-1924) by Orlando Figes
A celebrated epic that presents a profound account of the Russian Revolution for the new generation, A People’s Tragedy provides a deeper insight into the Revolution and its people. Focusing on the eve of the Revolution, Figes narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased and led to the times of war and Revolution.
Figes, while focusing on the original Revolution, keeps on presenting his own views and hopes to trace the origin of the Revolution that failed its people and the country as a whole. Since it is the People’s Tragedy, it focuses more on the people’s revolution, as well as on the Social and Political factors that gave birth to this historic Revolution.
9. Red Star Over Russia by David King
A breath-taking visualizing history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the death of Stalin, the Red Star Over Russia by David King presents the readers with a vibrant record with posters, photographs, paintings, magazine covers, advertisements, and ephemera to illustrate the dramatic birth and eventual decline of the Soviet Union, in the most captivating matter. Since the Russian Revolution produced some of the most important advances in the fields of art, photography, and graphic design in the 20th century, this book provides the readers with a unique work of history and the Modern world.
10. The Russian Revolution: A New History by Sean McMeekin
The last book on this list, The Russian Revolution by Sean McMeekin, is another remarkable work that focuses on the events which ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and introduced communism to the world. Tracing the period between 1917 and 1922, when Russia underwent some of the greatest changes that made history, this book presents the readers with a comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution in the most cutting-edge style.
That’s all for the list of best books on the Russian Revolution. Undoubtedly, these are some of the most significant books that come into the debate while tracing the Russian Revolution, the times that still remain an important part of history.