Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

Images of War: The Russian Revolution, World War to Civil War 1917-1921, Nik Cornish

This entry in the Images of War series looks at the two Russian Revolutions (the first overthrew the Tsar, the second saw the Bolsheviks overthrow the Provisional Government and ignore the results of a free election), then moves to look at the Civil War that followed (perhaps best seen as a series of semi-linked wars between the Reds, Greens, Whites, various sets of Nationalists and Blacks).

The author has avoiding including too many pictures of the Western intervention in Russia and instead the focus in on the various factions within the Russian Empire (as well as the powerful Czech Legion that played a major part in the conflict). Most of the factions are well represented, including the Germans who occupied large parts of western Russia for much of 1918. We start with pictures from the last days of Tsarist Russia, move on to the two revolutions and then concentrate on the costly but rather chaotic civil war. We end with the Kronstadt uprising of 1921, in which the sailors who had helped keep Lenin in power ruse against him when they realised how brutal the Bolshevik regime had become.

The chapter introductions build up to provide a useful brief history of the revolutions and the Civil War that followed. The pictures all have purpose-written captions, avoiding the danger of repeating material from the introductions. The text is very useful as the Russian Civil War was a complex affair, with a variety of competing and often hostile factions facing the Bolsheviks.

The pictures are varied and interesting, cover a wide range of topics, and are generally of a high quality. We see normal soldiers, military leaders, the varied equipment at their disposal and sometimes the civilians whose lives they so badly disrupted.

1 - Events in Petrograd are Far from Calm
2 - A Time of Confusion and Hope
3 - The Opposition Emerges
4 - Confusion be their Epitaph
5 - Black, Red, Green and White - the Rainbow at War
6 - Adrift in a Counter-revolutionary Sea
7 - Zeniths and Nadirs - Target Moscow
8 - Crimean Sunset
9 - Bolsheviks Triumphant

Author: Nik Cornish
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 144
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2012

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