Richard Pipes's authoritative history of the "violent and disruptive acts" that created the first modern totalitarian regime portrays the crisis at the heart of the tsarist empire. Drawing on archival materials newly released in Russia, he chronicles the upheaval that began as a conservative revolt but was soon captured by messianic intellectuals intent not merely on reforming Russia but on remaking the world. He provides fresh accounts of the revolution's personalities and policies, crises, and cruelties, from the murder of the royal family through civil war, famine, and state terror. Brilliantly and persuasively, Pipes shows us why the resulting system owes less to the theories of Marx than it did to the character of Lenin and Russia's long authoritarian tradition. What ensues is a path-clearing work that is indispensable to any understanding of the events of the century.
Richard Pipes was for many years a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books and essays on Russia, past and present, including Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. In 198182 he served as President Reagan's National Security Council adviser on Soviet and East European affairs, and he has twice received a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Marlborough, New Hampshire.