Caught in the Revolution
"A gripping, vivid, deeply researched chronicle of the Russian Revolution told through the eyes of a surprising, flamboyant cast of foreigners in Petrograd, superbly narrated by Helen Rappaport." (Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs). "Next year's centenary will prompt a raft of books on the Russian Revolution. They will be hard pushed to better this highly original, exhaustively researched and superbly constructed account." (Saul David, Daily Telegraph). Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil - felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action - to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to a diverse group of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a 'red madhouse.'
"A gripping, vivid, deeply researched chronicle of the Russian Revolution told through the eyes of a surprising, flamboyant cast of foreigners in Petrograd, superbly narrated by Helen Rappaport." -- Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs "Next year's centenary will prompt a raft of books on the Russian Revolution. They will be hard pushed to better this highly original, exhaustively researched and superbly constructed account." -- Saul David Daily Telegraph "This is narrative history at its very best, communicating the confusion, exhilaration, horror and despair of that momentous year" BBC History Magazine "Chronicles the events of 1917 through the eyes of foreigners resident in Petrograd - diplomats, journalists, merchants, factory owners, charity workers and simple Russophiles... a wonderful array of observations, most of them misguided, some downright bizarre. What makes this book so delightful and enlightening is the depth of incredulity it reveals... [A] wonderful book." -- Gerard DeGroot The Times "Thoroughly-researched and absorbing... this book offers a compelling picture of life in Petrograd in this momentous and often terrible year... One gets a wonderful picture of the extraordinary and beautiful city... and a keen sense of the really grotesque inequality that has always existed there." -- Allan Massie Scotsman
Helen Rappaport is an historian and Russianist with specialisms in the Victorians and revolutionary Russia. Her books include No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War, Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs, Beautiful For Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer, Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy; Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses and Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, 1917. A fluent Russian speaker, she has translated many classic Russian plays (including all of Chekhov's) and was historical consultant to Tom Stoppard's National Theatre trilogy The Coast of Utopia (2002). She is also a frequent contributor to television and radio documentaries, most recently Russia's Lost Princesses (BBC2, 2014). She lives in West Dorset.