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Publisher's Summary

The window between two equally stifling autocracies - the imperial family and the communists - was open only briefly, in the last couple of years of the 19th century until the end of WWI, by which time the revolution was in full fury.

From the last years of Tolstoy until the death of the Tsar and his family, however, Russia experimented with liberalism and cultural openness. In Europe, the Ballet Russe was the height of chic. Novelists and playwrights blossomed, political ideas were swapped in coffee houses, and St. Petersburg felt briefly like Vienna or Paris. The state, however, couldn't tolerate such experimentation against the backdrop of a catastrophic war and a failing economy. The autocrats moved in and the liberals were overwhelmed. This story seems to have strangely prescient echoes of the present.

©2017 Mikhail Zygar (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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    4 out of 5 stars

This was a decent history book.

This book was done well. It has a good ratio of data-to-anecdote. Your won't get lost in the weeds too much with repetitive listing of dates and people, but that info is included where relevant.

It will give you a good grounding on how the stage was set for the Communist regime of early 20th century.

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  • Charles Palmer
  • 01-03-18

superb, a hugely important contribution

to the history of the world's worst man made catastrophe. for the last 30 years I have been a scholar of Russian history and this book contextualized the most extraordinary event.

doubly relevant today, when the evil of Bolshevism appears to have been consciously forgotten.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful