Caught in the revolution Petrograd, Russia, 1917--a world on the edge

Helen Rappaport

Book - 2017

"Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St. Petersburg) was in turmoil--felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware ...of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action--to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a 'red madhouse'"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

947.0841/Rappaport
2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 947.0841/Rappaport Checked In
2nd Floor 947.0841/Rappaport Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Personal narratives
Published
New York : St. Martin's Press 2017.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxvi, 430 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 341-403) and index.
ISBN
9781250056641
1250056640
Main Author
Helen Rappaport (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Best-selling author Rappaport, whose books on Russia include The Romanov Sisters (2014), here tackles two standout revolutions in an explosive year and tumultuous location: the February and October 1917 revolutions in Petrograd, Russia. Not only that, but she also approaches these momentous events from eyewitness views not usually reported in the years since: those of foreigners—­Europeans, Americans, and others; diplomats, valets, engineers, reporters; men and women—there for a variety of reasons and befuddled or even forewarned by what was coming, yet choosing to remain, or leaving regretfully. Rappaport's elegantly detailed writing shapes and pulls together excerpts from letters, diaries, articles, and more, quoted throughout, creating the immediacy and energy of history in the making: terrifying, brutal, and unforgettable. Though Rappaport notes that her dissemination of the reports of non-Russians in the Russian Revolution seemed best held until 2017, the centenary of the revolution, little would she know how timely some of the quotes might be. To wit, newspaperman Harold Williams on the new Russians: "It is nothing to them if in the throes of the great upheaval the world relapses into barbarism." Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Rappaport expands her Russianist oeuvre beyond her four previous works, including The Romanov Sisters, with an inclusive narrative of the 1917 Russian Revolution through the eyes of diplomatic and journalistic European witnesses. A series of devastating revolts in that year saw bolshevism rise out of the ashes of the Romanov monarchy. At the time, Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) was a cosmopolitan community of expats, journalists, and diplomats. These American, French, and British residents quickly went from a "demi-monde" life of privilege to threats of mortal danger and suffering privations along with the Russian people during the incendiary events of the uprising. Rappaport scoured firsthand accounts to tell the story through these memoirist outsiders who witnessed the birth of a new nation and political ideology, "Bolsheviki." Although citing standard resources such as John Reeds's Ten Days That Shook the World, the research represents the most comprehensive compendium to date of non-Russian perspectives across social classes. Includes a glossary of eyewitnesses along with an extensive bibliography and index. VERDICT An engaging if challenging look at a country's collapse with worldwide repercussions. Informed general readers will enjoy this glimpse into history; scholars will declare it a definitive study.—Jessica Bushore, Xenia, OH Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Rappaport contributes a unique take on the revolution using vivid primary source accounts from American, British, and French citizens who lived and worked in St. Petersburg in February 1917. The city comes alive as people witnessed the beginnings of a new nation and ideology. (LJ11/15/16) Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Rappaport (The Romanov Sisters) adopts an eyewitness approach to the Russian Revolution of 1917 in this fun, fast-paced, yet frivolous work. She bases her story on the firsthand accounts of Westerners in Petrograd at the time—a mixed bag of bankers, diplomats, journalists, socialists, and socialites, including Julia Dent Grant (granddaughter of Ulysses S. Grant); journalists Florence Harper, Arthur Ransome, and John Reed; and American war photographer Donald Thompson. Some witnesses braved the mob scene with camera and notebook in hand. Others barricaded themselves in their offices and watched through their windows, fearing for their lives as the violence escalated. Rappaport fails to really develop these personalities, and the perspective changes as rapidly as the street names. Compared to Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World or Richard Pipes's classic The Russian Revolution 1899–1919, this is revolution-lite, very colorful but without much analysis or context. Rappaport treats readers to glimpses of the general strikes, bread protests, looting, and red banner–waving through the smoky-rose glasses of these wistful and unprepared foreigners. Sadly, the Russians are reduced to a ragged, hungry monochrome mass. Map & illus. Agent: Caroline Michel, Peters Fraser & Dunlop. (Mar.) Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The New York Times best-selling author of The Romanov Sisters presents a gripping portrait of Petrograd at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, drawing on foreign-national eyewitness accounts to trace key events as recorded in letters and journals.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St. Petersburg) was in turmoil--felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action--to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a 'red madhouse'"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Presents a portrait of Petrograd at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, drawing on foreign-national eyewitness accounts to trace key events as recorded in letters and journals.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters, Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold.

Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.

Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.

Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse."

Review by Publisher Summary 5

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters comes a gripping portrait of a St. Petersburg (then named Petrograd), at the outbreak of the Russian revolution.