In This Review

Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921
Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921
By Peter Holquist
Harvard University Press, 2002, 359 pp

If further historical research bears him out, Holquist will have added an important new perspective from which to judge not only the Soviet Revolution of 1917 but the 1914-21 period in European history. Holquist has plumbed the archives of the Don region to construct his fine-grained study. He contends that war, revolution, and civil conflict defined modern Russia and extended Europe's crisis three years beyond World War I. Looking at the case of food supply, he argues that the biases and methods that Russian officials used to attack wartime tasks (even under the ancien regime) formed a larger pattern in which the Bolsheviks represented only an extreme, not an exception. Ideology, therefore, only partly accounts for the severe form that Vladimir Lenin's new regime took. Lenin and his colleagues appropriated to a large extent the politics of mobilization from World War I and the subsequent civil war and applied them in peacetime.