Book Review

Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921: Searing analysis of USSR’s birth not for faint-hearted

Antony Beevor’s latest doorstopper, about the Russian Revolution and the chaos that followed it, teems with tales of gory cruelty

Vladimir Lenin: called for ‘war to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals’. Picture: Getty

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin reportedly spoke English with an Irish accent, having been taught it by a tutor from Rathmines. His Bolshevik movement borrowed money from Sinn Féin in 1920, handing over the Romanov crown jewels as collateral. He was a great admirer of the Easter Rising and scolded some of his own comrades who had tried to downplay its importance.

Antony Beevor’s epic history of the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, however, really does ...