THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 1917 by Marc Ferro

THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 1917

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A dense, sluggish recitation of the deposition of the Tsar and the February Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath, ""Dual Power"" (or, as Trotsky called it, ""Dual Powerlessness""), which provides a numbing crush of details on the timorous liberal ministries of Kerensky, Milyukov and the Cadets without adding anything to the scholarly lucidity of the first volume of E. H. Cart's The Bolshevik Revolution. Unaccountably, the story of the progressive collapse of the Provisional Government is abruptly broken off during the June riots when Bolshevik fortunes had reached a low ebb with Trotsky in jail and Lenin, once again, in hiding. Ferro thoroughly sifts the policies and programs of the Right concentrating especially on their paper solutions to the agrarian question and the rights of nationalities. Gradations on the Left from the SR to the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks are scrupulously indicated but Ferro has little feel for the essential fluidity of political affiliations and platforms during this inchoate democratic interim. The sweeping assertion that ""the masses backed the most radical revolutionaries"" is untenable in view of the Bolsheviks' consistent inability to gain majorities in the provincial Soviets, or even in Moscow and Petrograd before the July fiasco of the Kornilov affair. Occasionally the author seems to be hinting that the Russian people were gripped by some anarchic psychosis which wanted to tear down everything that smacked of government (""any delegation of power was denounced, all authority was unbearable""); but elsewhere he suggests that all they really wanted was ""a just democracy from which the scoundrels were banished."" Analytically weak and stylistically lumpy, this may be of some use to those wishing a dose look at the last political writhings of those whom history has consigned to the refuse heap.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1972
Publisher: Prentice-Hall