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Omitting the ideological roots and the beneficial (as opposed to detrimental) results--and in both respects inferior to Goldston--this emerges as a rather narrow but highly particularized political history containing, in its faovr, a fuller account of the Civil War than any existing juvenile. The November 1917 taking of the Winter Palace leads off, signifying the Bolshevik assumption of power and setting the stage for a precise account of preceding and succeeding events--what happened, how and why--from ""The Rehearsal, 1905"" to the establishment of Communist Party dictatorship and the ameliorative New Economic Policy in 1921. (The ""Conclusion,"" which focuses on repressive measures to the present, lacks the breadth to make it a satisfactory substitute for post-revolutionary history, and might better have been omitted.) Mr. Cash, a British journalist, writes crisply and makes good use of quotations. Moreover his close attention to the ambiguities of individual positions and the aspirations of different ethnic and social groups marks this as a relatively sophisticated treatment, particularly of the Civil War. Thus, the non-Bolshevik intelligentsia is alienated by the dismissal of the freelyelected Constituent Assembly while the masses are apathetic--the peasants ""prone (during this period) to ignore all authority,"" being essentially anarchistic and hostile to any central control. That the book does not attend only to the victors is a plus; it suffers chiefly, for young people, in not putting them and their revolution in historical perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday