The Russian Revolutions – David Footman

This is a book I picked up at a charity shop that looked interesting.  It was originally published in 1962 and the author, born in 1895, was a diplomat and spy for the British as well as being a historian.

The book is an overview rather than being a detailed account of the various revolutions, or attempted revolutions in Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries.  It feels as though it was written for 6th-formers needing a superficial picture of Russian history.

The book starts with an overview of Russian society, which is useful to set the scene for what comes next.

The book goes on to look at various revolutionary movements, the February revolution, the abdication of Nicholas II and the road to power for the Bolsheviks.

The most interesting thing for me is wondering what more David Footman knew about the Soviet Union and its road to existence; he headed the MI6 unit responsible for procuring, processing and analysing information from the Soviet union during World War II.

It’s also quite interesting to read history books written about the Soviet Union before the thawing of the cold war.  This one manages to be reasonably neutral about communism and Stalin.

If you know nothing about the Russian revolution you could do worse than start with this book.  If you know something I wouldn’t bother with except as a curiosity.

Click here to find out more about David Footman


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