PORTRAIT OF A REVOLUTION: Russia 1896-1924 by Frederic & Madeleine Chapsal Rossif


Email this review


This ""portrait"" was originally a French film and, while superficially arresting-all those action photos--it adheres to no standards, of responsible scholarship. The text does not comprise a running caption but rather a rhetorical soundtrack--separate notables in group photos are not identified, the many stills from action sequences (troops massed and marching, crowds standing rigid or-scattering) are no more meaningful than any such, individual actions are frequently unexplained and inexplicable. The photos make. their impact by manipulation and repetition--eight pages of crowds listening to ""propagandists,"" another eight of breadlines, starving children, predatory children. Meanwhile the issues of the revolution are-reduced to shorthand and slogans; to say, for example, that Kerenski ""was a moderate and did not believe in 'violent overthrow of the government"" serves to pigeonhole him while begging the real 'issue(s) entirely. Even for persons--seldom 'children--who know their history and can spot the famous faces, this is a dubious offering: in the absence of specific picture sources, there is no way to check their authenticity, in the absence of captions, no way to know if they demonstrate what they purport to.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown