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Roland Chambers's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Roland Chambers recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Roland Chambers's favorite book recommendations of all time.

“During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a Romanov monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little known to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study.”
--Leon Trotsky, from History of the Russian Revolution

Regarded by many as among the most powerful...
Recommended by Roland Chambers, and 1 others.

Roland ChambersI chose this book because almost everything that people read about the Russian revolution is written by Westerners, partly because the official histories written under Stalin were incredibly boring and predictable. That all changed when the archives opened up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but there’s a gap all the same, which Trotsky tried to fill. (Source)

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Lenin in Zürich


Separate publication of chapters on Vladimir Lenin, none of them published before this point, from The Red Wheel. less
Recommended by Roland Chambers, and 1 others.

Roland ChambersI chose this book because it’s a work of fiction, and fiction is sometimes better at giving you a sense of the man than fact. Lenin, though a historical figure, is also a mythical figure. For many, he was not really a human being. His statue was in every town in the Soviet Union. He became a cult. Whether you love him or hate him he’s a sort of god, and as such he’s very difficult to recover... (Source)

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Debate on Soviet Power

Recommended by Roland Chambers, and 1 others.

Roland ChambersThe Debate on Soviet Power is important because the sheer scale of the revolution made it difficult to get at the principle players and what they were up to. Of course, the revolution came out of World War I, but in some ways its political and cultural significance exceeded the war. It was the most important political event of the 20th century – the beginning of the modern age. (Source)

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Six Weeks in Russia in 1919

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. less
Recommended by Roland Chambers, and 1 others.

Roland ChambersThere are only a couple of well-known eyewitness accounts of the revolution. The best known is probably John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook The World, but I’ve gone with Ransome’s book because Ransome is my man, and because whereas Reed’s book is a highly imaginative view of the 1917 revolution, Ransome’s is an equally stylised version of the revolution a little way down the road. (Source)

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Unrivalled in scope and brimming with human drama, A People’s Tragedy is the most vivid, moving and comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution available today.

‘A modern masterpiece’ Andrew Marr

‘The most moving account of the Russian Revolution since Doctor ZhivagoIndependent

Opening with a panorama of Russian society, from the cloistered world of the Tsar to the brutal life of the peasants, A People’s Tragedy follows workers, soldiers, intellectuals and villagers as their world is consumed by revolution and then...
Recommended by Thomas Keneally, Roland Chambers, and 2 others.

Thomas KeneallyWell, I’ve chosen this because, from what I remember, it’s the book I most admired while I was writing about Russia because it gives the tremendous overall sweep of the entire catastrophe up to the end of the civil war in 1922 and the famine. Figes has the capacity to focus on people you’ve never heard of and show them as representatives of ideologies competing for control of the Russian state,... (Source)

Roland ChambersA People’s Tragedy is the most readable and illuminating history of the Russian revolution to be written, using material that only became available to historians following the Soviet Union’s collapse. (Source)

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