Spies and Commissars: Bolshevik Russia and the West

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Pan Macmillan, Nov 4, 2011 - History - 524 pages
In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, the Western powers were anxious to prevent the spread of Bolshevism across Europe. Lenin and Trotsky were equally anxious that the Communist vision they were busy introducing in Russia should do just that. But neither side knew anything about the other. The revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from the First World War had ensured a diplomatic exodus from Moscow and the usual routes to vital information had been closed off. Into this void stepped an extraordinary collection of opportunists, journalists and spies – sometimes indeed journalists who were spies and vice versa: in Moscow Britain’s Arthur Ransome, the American John Reed and Sidney Reilly – ‘Ace of Spies’ – all traded information and brokered deals between Russia and the West; in Berlin, Paris and London, the likes of Maxim Litvinov, Adolf Ioffe and Kamenev tried to infiltrate the political elite and influence foreign policy to the Bolshevik’s advantage. Robert Service, acclaimed historian and one of our finest commentators on matters Soviet, turns his meticulous eye to this ragtag group of people and, with narrative flair and impeccable research, reveals one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century.

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User Review  - michael.confoy.tamu - LibraryThing

This book does a nice job of simplifying the complicated early years of the Russian Revolution. From the Bolsheviks, the Germans, the Western Powers and all the deluded fans, it provides fascinating ... Read full review

SPIES AND COMMISSARS: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution

User Review  - Kirkus

British historian Service (Russian History/Univ. of Oxford; Trotsky, 2009, etc.) examines the fraught birth of the Soviet Union in this careful, dense scholarly study.The conventional view of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and of St Antony’s College, Oxford. He has written several books, including the highly acclaimed Lenin: A Biography, Russia: Experiment with a People , Stalin: A Biography and Comrades: A History of World Communism, as well as many other books on Russia’s past and present. His most recent book, Trotsky: A Biography was awarded the 2009 Duff Cooper Prize. Married with four children, he lives in London.

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