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Russia in revolution

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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 is a narrative history of the Russian Revolution, Civil War, and the early history of the Soviet Union, written by S. A. Smith and published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. The release was timed with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.[1]

The book covers the period from 1890 – 1928, a wider time frame than many works on the Russian Revolution. This reflects the author's intention to understand the Russian Revolution as a long term process, rather than focus on the narrower events of 1917 as exceptional.[1]

The work addresses many major themes and topics that the revolution grew from, including:[1][2]

The book opens with an introduction which details the author's perspectives and the questions they are seeking to answer. The first chapter provides an overview of the half century preceding the main events of the book until the 1905 Revolution, looking at the reigns of Alexander II and III, and the beginning of Nicolas II's reign and concludes as Stalinism emerges during Stalin's consolidation of power and the end of the New Economic Policy, setting the stage for the era of central planning, collectivization, and industrialization. The structure of the book is both chronological and topical:

The work concludes with an essay reflecting on the causes and turning points of the Russian Revolution.[4]

There is no formal bibliography, however the extensive notes form a valuable resource on the scholarly writing about the period.[1]

James D. White writes about Russia in Revolution, "It is a work written mainly for the general reader, though the author hopes that, as a synthesis of recent research by Russian and Western scholars, and as an attempt to question some familiar interpretations, it will have something of interest to say to his academic colleagues. In this, Smith’s hope is entirely justified, because his book not only provides a useful introduction to the subject, but raises important questions of how the revolutionary period in Russia should be interpreted."[4]

Commenting in the English Historical Review on the scholarly but accessible writing, George Gilbert states, "The centenary of the Russian Revolution has, perhaps rather inevitably, invited a wave of new books on the subject, some of them containing much novel material for those engaged at the cutting edge of historical research, with others aimed at a more general readership. S.A. Smith’s contribution to the debate bridges a divide between specialist academic monographs and studies of the Revolution designed to engage a wide audience, with the book "primarily written for the reader coming new to the subject.""[a][1]

Stephen Anthony Smith, FBA, FRHistS (born 1952) is a British historian and academic. Since 2012, he has been Professor of History at the University of Oxford and a senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. Smith was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1995,[5] and a Fellow of the British Academy, the United Kingdom's national academy, in 2014.[6]

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