Tuesday, December 28, 2021

S.A. Smith's The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

As one might expect from the author's expertise, S.A. Smith's The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction is a very informed account of the Russian Revolution and its influence up until the 1930s.  The book provides readers a concise account of revolutionary events but tries to introduce readers to some of the major areas of research into the revolution and its immediate aftermath.  Smith seems particularly interested in issues related to nationalism and ethnic minorities in the Revolution and in the Soviet Union.  He touches on issues related to gender, the arts, modernization, etc.  One might do better to read his relatively recent Russia in Revolution, however, since this book does feel caught somewhere between a high school text and a grad school preliminary exam preparation book.  And perhaps the issue is that Smith attempted to cover the narrative but also the historiography, and that might be too hard to do in A Very Short Introduction, even though I recall liking Catriona Kelly's Russian literature book in this series fairly well.

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