Russia in the First World War - Recommendations?

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Afternoon all, my son is currently studying for his History A level, and wantds to look at the Russian pre-revolutionary Army. He's interested in the Eastern Front principally from a Russian perspective, and thanks to the current Covid 19 fun, he can't get into the library. Whilst I've a fairly comprehensive personal library covering the Western Front, I have very little on the Russians.

Any recommendations for Theboywho?

Many thanks!
 
Solzhenytsin's August 1914 is good read for atmosphere and gives a good sense of the confusion in the Russian army when the German army ran rings round them at Tanneberg.

The author's experience as an artillery officer in WW2 gives a good deal of authenticity to his description of the Russian soldiers.

I seem to remember seeing some decent websites with background material on the Russian army - give Google a try as well.
 
Norman Stone's THE EASTERN FRONT is the standard work. It's been a while since I read it so I dunno how well it's aged on the wine vs milk spectrum.

Stone was a really weird guy with near-fascist politics and notoriously horrible behaviour towards students and colleagues even before he emigrated to Turkey because (he said) the students clicked their heels Prussian-fashion before speaking to a professor, but IIRC it didn't come over in the book, which was pretty good both on the operations history and on the war-and-society stuff.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Norman Stone's THE EASTERN FRONT is the standard work. It's been a while since I read it so I dunno how well it's aged on the wine vs milk spectrum.

Stone was a really weird guy with near-fascist politics and notoriously horrible behaviour towards students and colleagues even before he emigrated to Turkey because (he said) the students clicked their heels Prussian-fashion before speaking to a professor, but IIRC it didn't come over in the book, which was pretty good both on the operations history and on the war-and-society stuff.
Funnily enough, just had a fb post from a historian friend referring to Stone's work, and warning me off saying it's "crap history for idiots".... :-D
 
Norman Stone's book on the Eastern Front is decent (and Theboywho can marvel at the fact that Norman would probably have been rather drunk when writing a fair amount of it...).

Douglas Boyd's The Other First World War is worth a look, as is Prit Buttar's stuff (more than one book, some of which was available free on Amazon as part of their 'let us ensnare you with a tempting looking offer' approach).

Stone was a really weird guy with near-fascist politics and notoriously horrible behaviour towards students and colleagues even before he emigrated to Turkey because (he said) the students clicked their heels Prussian-fashion before speaking to a professor, but IIRC it didn't come over in the book, which was pretty good both on the operations history and on the war-and-society stuff.

That's a bit harsh - he used to take his students into the Eastgate pub after lectures (he always seemed to do the 1100-1200 slot and then walk from the exam schools building to the 'Gate where he'd do the Q&A. Much of his 'horrible behaviour' seems to have been a misinterpretation of him delighting in winding people up (of left wing views) and then winding them up further when they made the mistake of not sighing and saying 'Oh do **** off, Norman'. Think of him as Oxford's answer to Bravo Bravo in that regard... His comment about the students clicking their heels was a joke.

There were a number of Professors of his vintage who were much less amiable towards their students and colleagues than Stone; Stone's 'problem' was his penchant for drink and his intolerance of fools, and he encountered many he considered fools. The 'fools' were often those who saw Thatcher as a fascist and the hard left as benign. Stone had seen the hard left's heroes in action in Hungary, and never forgave them for that.

Also, some of his more hardline, Thatcher's a bit of a softie on this columns in the Times were written at Oh-Dark-Thirty on the day they were due fuelled by Single Malt. I had dinner with him after a seminar once, where he cheerfully admitted that if he'd written the columns earlier in the week, they'd have caused less outrage. 'But where would the fun be in that?' he added, with a distinct twinkle in his eye...
 

4(T)

LE
There are quite a few decent WW1 Eastern Front histories by western authors - all listed on Amazon, etc.

There are, however, very few accounts from actual Russian sources. This is, of course, because the revolution and soviet regime rewrote or erased much of the history, and many or most of the individuals who might otherwise have written memoires (intellectuals, officers, archivists) were themselves terrorised into silence or murdered.

Solzhenytsin's complete trilogy is worth a read, as it expands on the chaos, turmoil and terror behind the front that led to the collapse of the Russian war effort.

August 1914
November 1916
March 1917

Marshal Semyon Budyonny wrote a memoir that includes some WW1 experiences. However it, too, is heavily redacted according to soviet norms of the time.
 
Look for anything by Nik Cornish.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Many thanks folks, a couple of orders made!

Norman Stone's book on the Eastern Front is decent (and Theboywho can marvel at the fact that Norman would probably have been rather drunk when writing a fair amount of it...).

Douglas Boyd's The Other First World War is worth a look, as is Prit Buttar's stuff (more than one book, some of which was available free on Amazon as part of their 'let us ensnare you with a tempting looking offer' approach).




That's a bit harsh - he used to take his students into the Eastgate pub after lectures (he always seemed to do the 1100-1200 slot and then walk from the exam schools building to the 'Gate where he'd do the Q&A. Much of his 'horrible behaviour' seems to have been a misinterpretation of him delighting in winding people up (of left wing views) and then winding them up further when they made the mistake of not sighing and saying 'Oh do **** off, Norman'. Think of him as Oxford's answer to Bravo Bravo in that regard... His comment about the students clicking their heels was a joke.

There were a number of Professors of his vintage who were much less amiable towards their students and colleagues than Stone; Stone's 'problem' was his penchant for drink and his intolerance of fools, and he encountered many he considered fools. The 'fools' were often those who saw Thatcher as a fascist and the hard left as benign. Stone had seen the hard left's heroes in action in Hungary, and never forgave them for that.

Also, some of his more hardline, Thatcher's a bit of a softie on this columns in the Times were written at Oh-Dark-Thirty on the day they were due fuelled by Single Malt. I had dinner with him after a seminar once, where he cheerfully admitted that if he'd written the columns earlier in the week, they'd have caused less outrage. 'But where would the fun be in that?' he added, with a distinct twinkle in his eye...
Interesting; it has to be said that my historian friend, whilst a lovely chap, truly believes that Corbyn is the second coming, and is a tad on the pinko side of life….
 

OAGAAG

Crow
When is the assignment due?

A lot of good Russian material is published and continues to be published, but in that language.
Admin blocked Web Pages linked that I tried to send on here.

From a BBC list; there are books that you could possibly cite (if you have access to academic library?) -
I haven't seen these resources, but the BBC used them, so who knows. In pdf.

Finally, I did a quick scan online and used my academic library credentials to access a few articles that are university level. I am attaching them for you. There are many more I downloaded, but this site has a limit for file attachments and then rejected some of the attachments.

The articles are in pdf from the Journal Russian Studies in History.
I can send them to an email address if the administrator allows us to share such on here.

Full Disclosure - I have a Russian relations and an apartment in Siberia which I cannot visit because travel restrictions. If you have queries, I understand Russian and speak it at intermediate level.

Reach out if you need something specific.

Best of luck

M
 

Attachments

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
When is the assignment due?

A lot of good Russian material is published and continues to be published, but in that language.
Admin blocked Web Pages linked that I tried to send on here.

From a BBC list; there are books that you could possibly cite (if you have access to academic library?) -
I haven't seen these resources, but the BBC used them, so who knows. In pdf.

Finally, I did a quick scan online and used my academic library credentials to access a few articles that are university level. I am attaching them for you. There are many more I downloaded, but this site has a limit for file attachments and then rejected some of the attachments.

The articles are in pdf from the Journal Russian Studies in History.
I can send them to an email address if the administrator allows us to share such on here.

Full Disclosure - I have a Russian relations and an apartment in Siberia which I cannot visit because travel restrictions. If you have queries, I understand Russian and speak it at intermediate level.

Reach out if you need something specific.

Best of luck

M
t
Thanks very much - an embarrassment of riches!
 

tocsin

Clanker
Do you have access to Defence Connect?

There's a Russia Community of Interest - obviously concentrating on current issues, but appears to have academic input...
 
@Themanwho look up General Sir Alfred Knox's books, he was a defence attache in Russia before and during WW1 and wrote three works on the subject on interest.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Interestingly Brian Horrocks of 30 Corps fame served out in Russia during the civil war, “a life well lived” I think! A good read
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Interestingly Brian Horrocks of 30 Corps fame served out in Russia during the civil war, “a life well lived” I think! A good read
Yes my review of his autobiography is on here. The only 5 star score I've ever given ,iirc.
 
Interestingly Brian Horrocks of 30 Corps fame served out in Russia during the civil war, “a life well lived” I think! A good read
So did Lashmer Whistler of 3rd Division, he of the knickname 'Bolo' - Bolshevik.....
 

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