THE BOLSHEVIKS COME TO POWER: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd by Alexander Rabinowitch

THE BOLSHEVIKS COME TO POWER: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd

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Age Range: 1917 - 1923
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This sequel to Prelude to Revolution (1968) begins with the period of intense repression in Russia following the July 1917 popular upsurge, which the Bolsheviks had not endorsed. The inability of moderate socialists to mobilize the population enabled the Bolsheviks to gain strength within the workers' and soldiers' soviet groupings, which remained incensed at the pro-war policy of the Kerensky government. Stressing the Bolsheviks' internal struggles, the author shows that Lenin began in late September to turn his party into an instrument for seizing power--rather than a de facto ally of the Mensheviks, as Zinoviev and Kamenev tried to make it until the last minute. Undercut by his own lieutenants, Lenin was also besieged by accusations of German agentry, which the author views as a counterinsurgent campaign of slanders; Lenin's own neighbors petitioned him out of the neighborhood. Nevertheless, popular support mounted for a move to fill the vacuum, and Lenin decided to act before the opening of the October 25th Congress of Soviets, which could then be served a fait accompli. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources including newspapers, dispatches, and minutes of meetings, Rabinowitch reconstructs the internal discussions of the Kerensky government, the workings of the Bolshevik central committee, and the mood of the Petrograd soldiers, workers, and sailors. This solid study is conceptually more aggressive than Carr's corresponding section of The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923 (1951) and broader than S. T. Mel-Gronov's The Bolshevik Seizure of Power (1972).

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1976
ISBN: 193185985X
Publisher: Norton