Caught in the Revolution

Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - a World on the Edge
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Romanov Sisters, Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eyewitness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold.

Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St. Petersburg) was in turmoil - felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices, and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.

Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses, and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic to the black valet of the US ambassador, far from his native Deep South, to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.

Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action - to see, feel, and hear the revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse".

This program includes a bonus interview with the author and her editor.

©2016 Helen Rappaport (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"This centenary year of the Russian Revolution promises a string of new audio histories, but not many will surpass this one for impact. Xe Sands is a subtle and empathetic narrator." ( AudioFile)
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After the Berry Book on the Romanovs

Where does Caught in the Revolution rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

So what was it like being in the capitol of Russia in the early days of the 1917-18 revolution? Rappaport tells that story in a well researched but very readable book. I read this right after reading a novel about restoring the Romanov throne - good pair!

What other book might you compare Caught in the Revolution to and why?

Steve Berry's novel on the Romanovs

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ordinary People; Chaotic Times

“Caught in the Revolution” observes the chaos and cruelty of the 1917 Russian Revolution from the perspective of Petrograd’s expatriate community, primarily Americans and Brits. The expats, mostly diplomats, journalists and bankers, are rarely the targets of street violence, and they make their way to their jobs and dinners without much harassment—although there are multiple scenes in which they flatten themselves on the street to avoid the bullets flying around them. The expats are sympathetic to their Russian friends and colleagues and increasingly distressed by the inability of the Russian leadership to save their own country from a brutal, dismal future.

The book is exceedingly well written, holding the reader’s attention with its focus on several key individuals like the British ambassador and his wife and an almost reckless American journalist and photographer. Xe Sands was a superb narrator, reading with deep empathy and clarity.

8 people found this helpful

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  • JP
  • 07-21-17

A Must Read for Students of History

The tragic end of yet another great world power. Sets the stage for understanding modern Russia and its leaders

3 people found this helpful

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Riveting story with fantastic narration

This book is a "page turner" even on Audible. The narration is perfect, and I can't wait to turn it back on again to get to the next chapter. The writing is fabulous, with a lot of detail and "people interest" to keep the reader engaged and bring the reality of the Revolution to life. Very well done and one of my favorite Audible books ever.

2 people found this helpful

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You are there

By using a variety of eye witness accounts, Rappaport has given the reader a very distinct feel for the beginning of the Russian Revolution from the early days to the subsequent takeover by the Bolsheviks and the horrendous violence both at the beginning and certainly as Lenin established power. Petrograd became dismal and depressing as what started as the overthrow of the czar devolved into anarchy. No wonder it took 70 years to change. This a a very worthwhile book to read 100 years after the start of the revolution; it's like seeing a train wreck coming.

5 people found this helpful

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Great narratives, kind of annoying performance

The narratives were very illustrative and eye-opening. Great vehicle for learning about the revolution and very explanatory in between. Liked the narrator's voice, but her performance was frequently much too precious for the subject matter. Or any subject, really. It felt like I was constantly being petted and cajoled aurally. I don't know how else to describe it.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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good narrator, blind bourgeois analysis

This author takes it upon herself to paint the ruling class of Russia and their rich consorts and imperialist diplomatic corp as innocent victims. She describes their demeaning treatment of their servants lovingly, while describing the proletariat demands for decent pay and work hours as "ridiculous", "absurd" and "impossible". The introduction tries to paint some of her cast of obscenely wealthy and privileged characters as occasionally having thoughts of guilt over their rich, decadent meals while the majority of the Russian people starve as if to suggest that that makes them good people. The descriptions of the experience of being "caught in the revolution" are good. It's hilarious to listen to these fattened pigs squeal about their privileges being threatened and their incredulity of working class people making demands of them. However, her constant intrusion into the narrative with her bourgeois concerns for the pigs over the starving working class gets annoying quite quickly. The narrator, however, is excellent, and elevates the material.

1 person found this helpful

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catalog of suffering and bad pronunciation

informative, harrowing, filled with atrocities and mispronounced words. good for hardcore russophiles with hard stomachs.

2 people found this helpful

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Unsatisfied

Difficult to follow. I found this history to be scattered in its telling. It is written primarily from the perspective of foreign nationals not the Russian people. While it is probably factual, it does not provide good background for the Russian Revolution. The narration was too fast in the beginning. There are better books on the Russian Revolution, however this book might serve as good anecdotal history. I will return this book.

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Very hard to follow

Would you try another book from Helen Rappaport and/or Xe Sands?

I'm not sure. It's too fast, especially at the beginning.

Would you recommend Caught in the Revolution to your friends? Why or why not?

Maybe.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Xe Sands?

Not sure

Did Caught in the Revolution inspire you to do anything?

Not really

Any additional comments?

I was not impressed by a book.

1 person found this helpful