The Russian Revolution is a very detailed (and I mean very detailed) look at the Russian revolution. Find books Pipes taught at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1996. I had some questions while reading this about the target audience here, my supposition is Russia experts and scholars. Written in the late 1980s, before later scholars had increased access to the Russian archives after the fall of the USSR, its thoroughness is remarkable. I thought that Richard Pipes' coverage of the transformation of old to new Russia was one of the best that I have ever read and very well researched. He deeply understands Russia and unfolds his mastery using crystal clear prose. The Russian Revolution by Richard Pipes is an enormous, detailed and eventually rewarding study of events that influenced a century of history. Very long narrative history of the lead up and early stages of the Russian Revolution and civil war. He is the author of numerous books and essays on Russia, past and present, including Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. Pipes’s Lenin was in fact well known by 1996, he was still evil incarnate, and Pipes provided a few new citations and footnotes to prove it. This book took both a lot of time and a lot of effort to write and it shows in the quality of the finished product. It has an anti-Bolshevik slant, but never claimed to be objective; Pipes clearly intended to argue that the Revolution was actually an intellectual coup d’etat carried out through terrorist acts. A bit of a slog. In 1981–82 he served as President Reagan’s National Security… More about Richard Pipes Him and the Bolsheviks were a small minority, not representative of the people, and they used brutal and barbaric tactics to solidify their power. Imagine the frustrated Lenin losing committee vote after committee vote until the only way he could win was by threatening to quit. By Richard Pipes Given the pivotal significance of the Russian Revolution, we wish to provide our readers with what we feel is one of the most conicse, well researched and most thoughtful considerations of the causes of the Revolution. It contains also valuable information, which corrects some widespread belifs, e.g. “Apparently, for all my reputation as a ‘cold warrior’, I had underestimated the damage that seven decades of communist rule had inflicted on the country and psyche of the people.”, By 1996, Pipes was horrified that the resurgence of the Communist Party, writing in Commentary about “our” disappointments in Russia for not following a “irreversible course Westernization” which was widely criticized as Russophobic. RICHARD PIPES Russian Revolution of 1917 was not an event or even a pro-cess, but a sequence of disruptive and violent acts that occurred more or less concurrently but involved actors with differing and in some measure contradictory objectives. Start by marking “The Russian Revolution” as Want to Read: Error rating book. During the 1970s and 1980s, Pipes was also a significant figure in the formulation of American foreign policy. Regrettably, too many historians who lean left of center, have white washed Russian Communism because they think it was merely a misguided attempt to stand up for the little guy. While writing The Russian Revolution, Pipes “felt constant outrage at the duplicity and brutality of the communists” who “reminded me time and again of the Nazis.” While writing on the execution of the tsar’s family, he smelled “a whiff of the Holocaust … the smokestacks of Auschwitz.” As a supporter of Russia’s war aims, Pipes had no problems with 6,324 deaths a day during the war, nor the US support for the mass White Terror. His principal adversary was none other than Henry Kissinger, advisor to John F. Kennedy during the 1960 election campaign, as proponent of a fictional “missile gap” with Soviet Union that would help propel Kennedy to victory. Welcome back. This is why you remain in the best website to look the amazing ebook to have. Pipes demolishes cherished notions the Bolsheviks enjoyed any wide support (even among fellow socialists and revolutionaries, let alone the public); untangles the Kornilov Affair; fixes firmly Lenin's establishment and reliance on terror (along with his creepy acolyte, Dzerzhinsky); and leaves the stage set for the emergence of the totalitarian machine and its natural successors, which Pipes superbly chronicles in his next volume. Pipes was more than willing to do his part. He acted as senior consultant at the Stanford Research Institute from 1973 to 1978. Unfortunately, however, Pipes cannot separate his political and moral revulsion from his role as an historian, and his tendentiousness mars what is otherwise a very valuable history. After reaching the United States a year later, Pipes began his education at Muskingum College, which was interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and sent to Cornell to study Russian. Pipes explores the deep roots of the Russian Revolution and follows it all the way to its horrifying culmination in the Red Terror. But the reality of his career was quite different. Beginning with a description of the social, economic and political characteristics of the Tsarist regime before dealing with the rise of the Bolsheviks and all events that led up to the establishment of the Soviet State. In one of his first books, Social Democracy and the St. Petersburg Labor Movement, 1885–1897, Pipes made the astonishing summation that workers were so uninterested in socialism that a frustrated Lenin later developed the “un-Marxist” and “Blanquist” theory of “revolution from above” by intellectuals that would later guide Bolshevik practice. Lenin was a fierce, uncompromising radical who took control of a revolution of the people for his own purposes. Blows away many myths about the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. The most clear-eyed portrayal of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Richard Pipes By 1921 it had become clear to all but the more incorrigible optimists that there would be no repetition of October 1917 anywhere else and that for an indeterminate period the revolution would remain confined to Russia and her possessions. The book was also very good to connect all these events to longer term currents in Russian history. Millions of soviets would die so the communist system could be sustained. Some of Pipes’s allegations were so preposterous, wrote Kenez, that the reader “wants to read a sentence a second time” because “perhaps the ‘prosecutor’ is simply carried away with his own rhetoric.” Kenez rightfully challenges and ridicules many of Pipes’s claims: that Bolshevik ideology as nothing more than a thin cover for power-hungry people, that the April and June demonstrations were attempted Bolshevik “putches,” that the Bolsheviks deliberately initiated the civil war, that the Red terror was more violent than the White terror. Dr. Why critique Richard Pipes? This is the best book on this topic I have read yet. Read More Books in 2021 with the Goodreads Reading Challenge. This five star review is with serious reservations. In 1962 he delivered a series of lectures on Russian intellectual history at Leningrad State University. The best history of the Russian Revolution. Richard Pipes, the most prolific of a generation of anticommunist cold warriors, has died. Richard Pipes was for many years a professor of history at Harvard University. In fact, it was Pipes’s colleagues from the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) who had convinced Yeltsin’ economic tsar, Anatoly Chubais, of the benefits of “shock therapy.” It was “desirable,” wrote Pipes himself in March 1992, “for Russia to keep on disintegrating until nothing remains of its institutional structures.” As Janine Wedel shows, this strategy quickly eliminated “most of the price controls and state subsidies that had underpinned life for Soviet citizens for decades.” Several years later, billionaire oligarchs (and Harvard Institute advisors) were among the few financial beneficiaries while Russian citizens were faced to deal with the largest peacetime decline in living standards in recorded history. The Cold War “enlists everyone and calls upon everyone to assume his part” and “the historian is no freer from this obligation than the physicist,” implored the head of the American Historical Association. Author of twenty-seven books, Pipes was also a nuclear weapons consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency and a National Security Council advisor to Ronald Reagan. But […]. You reach the conclusion with enormous relief as if you have been freed of a burden. At the same time, it is in my opinion a risky choice for an introduction to this historical event. This assessment also lacked verifiable proof and instead relied heavily on Pipes’s mind-reading capabilities that assumed an inherently hostile and aggressive Soviet regime. Pipes demolishes cherished notions the Bolsheviks enjoyed any wide support (even among fellow socialists and revolutionaries, let alone the public); untangles the Kornilov Affair; fixes firmly Lenin's establishment and reliance on terror (along with his creepy acolyte, Dzerzhinsky); and leaves the stage set for the emergence of the totalitarian machine and its natural successors, which Pipes su. But Pipes was and is from the hysterical school of anti-Communism, and that bias thoroughly permeates his work and measurably weakens it. Strong political history that focuses on Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The Russian Revolution was tragic and evil, and set the stage for modern totalitarianism and genocide. Our new issue –  on the incoming Biden administration – will be out soon. As Kenez suggests, “he believes that people do not want what they seemed to want, for their views and therefore their actions have been manipulated by others.” Pipes’s approach is that of an “extremely conservative man”; the only figures in The Russian Revolution not depicted as knaves or fools are the “remarkable exceptions” of General Kornilov and Nicholas II. There is a constant emphasis on the role of the non-Russian nationalities during the civil war, to such an extent that the book could have been more honestly called "The non-Russian Revolution", Russians being a passive lot upon whom revolution in Pipes account is visited by Czechs, Estonians and Latvians upon Russia, all of whom were using revolution to achieve national independence . Most workers refused to disarm, and the ruling classes simply did not have enough goons on the streets to make their dictatorial aspirations a reality. In an era of brutality, class violence against the Romanovs and the wealthy was particularly galling to Pipes, though mass violence against ordinary Russians was not. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published So why the serious reservations about 5 stars? In Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Pipes attempted to portray himself as a nonconformist outsider. Kevin Murphy teaches Russian history at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The strategic balance was determined “above all by the mentality and intentions of the people” controlling the nuclear arsenals. We’ll discuss the last four chaotic years of US politics, what happened in November, and what to expect from the incoming Biden administration. Rather than appeasement or nuclear annihilation, Pipes proposed “a sensible middle road between these extremes: it was a policy that required sangfroid.” Pipes conceded that many in the intelligence community viewed his “cold warriors” as “dangerous lunatics capable of igniting World War III.”, Pipes’s Team B report argued that it was wrong to assume Moscow thought in terms of nuclear deterrence, arguing that Soviet leaders think “first and foremost offensively” and if war appeared imminent, they were prepared to “strike first.” Even the CIA was dismayed that the report lacked “raw data” to support its analysis. Fir. At the expiration of my first 2 week borrow — via Libby — I determined to purchase the paberback volume (so much easier to forage within the notes while reading) ... COVID19 demanded I sit through another HOLD on Libby. Pipes wrote an exhaustively detailed and quite gripping account of the Russian Revolution, from the time of the first Duma government through 1918. While at times I did wish it was shorter, in the end, the length was worth it to gain a thorough understanding of the Russian Revolution. After reaching the United States a year later, Pipes began his education at Muskingum College, which was interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and sent to Cornell to study Russian. On the evening before his attempted coup, Kornilov told his generals, “It is time to hang the German agents and spies, Lenin first of all,” and vowed, if necessary, to “hang the entire membership of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.” Pipes contends that “The country yearned for firm authority,” meaning that the ruling classes’ desire to drown the revolution in blood represented the interests of the nation. Relentless anticommunism defined Pipes as a propagandist rather than historian. I am not an apologist for the USSR; it was an evil and despo. Because of his strong opinions, which show through in his writing, the book is more engaging than if he had worried about feigning objectivity. New York, NY, Vintage Books, 1995 1. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. So if you really want a detailed understanding of the cataclysm leaving Russia a single party state with one of the monsters of the 20th century in absolute power, the precursor to the worst of the 20th century, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, then read this book. Nor did Pipes engage with his critics such as the social historians of the 1970s and ‘80s who displaced the anticommunists. To see what your friends thought of this book, This volume is both a rigorous history and critique of Communism. In th… Radicals are radicals, whether from the left or the right, and they are virtually all dangerous and destructive. His approach to the Revolution, suggests Kenez, is to see “every event as a consequence of the sinister manipulation of revolutionaries implies that there is no point in examining the views and desires of ordinary people.” Parsing out contrary evidence, Pipes “mercilessly excludes every topic and bit of information” not relevant for the ‘prosecution.’” This meant that Pipes “has nothing to say about the emancipatory goals and legislation of the Bolsheviks.” His “hatred of the revolutionaries is so great” argues Kenez, that he ceases to be a historian and “becomes instead a prosecutor of revolutionaries.”. Get our print magazine for just $20 a year. We’ve got your back. I've already picked up Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime and will keep going with this series on Russian history. I thought that Richard Pipes. There is a constant emphasis on the role of the non-Russian nationalities during the civil war, to such an extent that the book could have been more honestly called "The non-Russian Revolution", Russians being a passive lot upon whom revolution in Pipes account is visited by Czechs, Estonians and La. I had some questions while reading this about the target audience here, my supposition is Russia experts and scholars. Simply put, this is the best overall book on the subject of The Russian Revolution. Richard Pipes on Firing Line with William F. Buckley. It is detailed to the point of tedium. ), then they confiscated private land, then changed the laws…it was Machiavellian, incremental, and scheming from the start. The main problem, according to Pipes, was that “Russia’s political culture is inhospitable to the political as well as the economic institutions of the West” and “until Russians become aware of what they have to change in their own culture, it is unlikely they can become a ‘normal’ society.” This was the best Pipes could offer as an explanation for the economic meltdown that he had encouraged. In 1981 and 1982 he served as a … In his memoirs, Pipes recalled how “Moscow launched a massive propaganda campaign in Europe to foil these deployments, using to this end large-scale public demonstrations which its agents organized and financed.” Vice-President Bush “was worried sick over the prospect of confronting anti-American mobs,” and Pipes attempted to convince him that “the mobs were manipulated by rent-a-crowd professionals.”, As a member of Reagan’s National Security Council, Pipes was regarded as a right extremist in Soviet policy for proposing “to do everything in our power to change the system, mainly by a policy of economic denial and a vigorous rearmament program.” In his memoirs, he congratulates himself on “contributions to a foreign policy that helped bring down the Soviet Union, the most dangerous and dehumanizing force in the second half of the twentieth century.”, After his foray into government, Pipes returned full-time to Harvard, where he switched his academic focus from US–Soviet relations back to Russian history. 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