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Publisher's Summary

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a key turning point in the history of modern Europe and the world. For much of the 20th century, politics were defined by attitudes to what had taken place in Russia in 1917. To understand the Russian Revolution, then, is to understand a key building block of modern history and the contemporary world.

Senior lecturer and renowned Russian researcher Dr. Jonathan Smele sheds new light on the many forces that came to bear in tsarist Russia, from the emancipation of the serfs in the mid-19th century to the climactic revolutions of the early 20th century that brought the small Bolshevik party to power.

©2009 Jonathan D. Smele; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

greta

I though the book was well written. A lot of thought went into it. I came a way with a great appreciation to the Russian history of the revolution and the underlining events that set things off. I great book that I would recomend to anyone who wants a in depth well written history book on Russia

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 01-30-13

Important story badly recorded

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's accent and manner of speaking is difficult to understand, and this is made worse by a poorly produced recording. If you want this book you'll have to read it in book form---the audio recording will drive you nuts.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good perspective of Russian history

I thought this a good overview of Russian history. It helped me put events leading up to Ww I into a greater world perspective.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Valuable history lesson hobbled by uneven delivery

The content is fine I guess, but the way that the professor moves through the material I cannot see the history coming alive. The professor makes awkward pauses in the.. middle of this sentences in such... a way as to take the listener out of the story. I have enjoyed dozens of courses on a bunch of subjects on Audible and this is the only one I did not find myself captured by.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • michael
  • STERLING, VA, United States
  • 03-29-15

It gives a good political backdrop of Russia but

How the party's changed based on factions and ideology was interesting, just as much as the soil conditions, power over the serfs, property rights (land), war and diseases. It's amazing to see the perfect storm and a strong man that can give promises can do.

It concerns me when men want to capitalize on a crisis and to promise the world only to get to power and suppress the people that believed the promise.

It was interesting to learn about Kiev, Crimea and Donetsk during this period and how 100 years ago, Putin wants to return to (not to mention to be the 3rd and only Roman Empire

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hard to explain what I disliked

I barely took a history class in college, so I'm not all that clear on what the conventions are, but this series of college-style lectures really felt like a litany of events to me. I vaguely remembered many of the names of events from high school history class, but I didn't remember how they fit together. Then I listened to these lectures on a car trip, and for maybe a week I did remember how they fit together, sort of. And now as I'm writing this review, I don't again.

To be sure, Smele makes a strong effort to get beyond this. Every third lecture or so he stops and does a synthesis/analysis lecture, summarizing the main forces behind the success or failure of whatever just happened. And each time he does, it basically makes sense, but then you get to the end, and one of the greatest nations on Earth has just been toppled by a bunch of ideological loonies, and it's hard to remember just why all the steps followed. One of the important factors, it seems, was that the Bolsheviks ended up occupying the cities once the civil war really got going, and from there they could muster large armies of the underclasses who basically fought for whoever controlled their territory. So was the failure of the Whites a failure to grasp this basic strategic point? That's certainly part of it, but I can't tell you how big a part.

I guess I'm being unfair to Smele. This is a really important subject, and I don't know of a better work on it, certainly not on audio. But I still didn't care for it.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me

Would you try another book from Jonathan D. Smele and/or the narrator?

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

Would you be willing to try another book from Jonathan D. Smele? Why or why not?

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrator?

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

Could you see The Modern Scholar being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

Any additional comments?

I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

0 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 12-23-12

detailed, stimulating and well delivered

I enjoyed both the content and the delivery of these lectures. The lectures have obviously been scrupulously prepared. They give detailed background information on Russian history, essential for understanding the causes of the revolution, before moving on to a detailed description of the revolution itself. They also continue past the revolution to consider the consolidation of power by the Bolsheviks. The delivery is excellent: Dr Smele speaks in a restful manner, so that one has time to absorb the information, but is never boring.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • jeremy
  • 07-09-13

A very listenable and informative intro

Good content (especially when supplemented with the free PDF material- instructions in audio). And a well presented and enjoyable listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful