Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir
The centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution has brought forth a number of excellent new histories, including this one, which features superb insight into one of the last century’s turning points. Smith’s book is in many respects the most expansive history of the 1917 revolution available. Smith traces the revolution in detail, as well as its prelude and aftermath. Every step of the way, he draws in the many different elements of the period—not just the political tumult but also the changing character of Russian society, economic developments, cultural trends, and the impact of a turbulent international context. Throughout, Smith fairly and intelligently arbitrates the great debates among historians over how to interpret the revolution. Were readers to look for one book to read on the subject, this should be it. Read the full review.