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What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 30 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... Government,’ Stephen Smith writes, in his sober, well-researched and comprehensive history. Sean McMeekin seconds this, affirming that ‘the events of 1917 were filled with might-have-beens and missed chances’ while at the same time tipping his hat to show who the intellectual enemy is: these events were ‘far from an eschatological “class ...

The First Calamity

Christopher Clark: July, 1914, 29 August 2013

The War That Ended Peace 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Profile, 656 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 1 84668 272 8
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July 1914: Countdown to War 
by Sean McMeekin.
Icon, 461 pp., £25, July 2013, 978 1 84831 593 8
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... and shocks to the international system. Margaret MacMillan’s The War That Ended Peace and Sean McMeekin’s July 1914 both bear the imprint of these perspectival shifts. They are both attentive to the play of contingency in crises that involved multilateral interactions among numerous sovereign actors. They both have interesting things to ...

I try not to think too hard

Greg Afinogenov: The End of Tsarist Russia, 4 February 2016

Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia 
by Dominic Lieven.
Allen Lane, 429 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 84614 381 6
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Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire 
by Joshua Sanborn.
Oxford, 304 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 0 19 874568 6
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... claim is less anodyne than it once seemed. In The Russian Origins of the First World War (2011), Sean McMeekin makes the startling claim that Russia masterminded the entire war in an attempt to secure Constantinople and the Dardanelles, then manipulated its allies into doing most of the fighting on its behalf. Towards the Flame is, deliberately ...

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