March 1917 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1 (The Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series)

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March 1917 is the third “node” of the famed Russian writer and former Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic examination of the pivotal events leading up to the Bolshevik seizure of power...
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to publish Nobel Prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic work March 1917, Node III, Book 1, of The Red Wheel.
 
The Red Wheel is Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus about the Russian Revolution. Solzhenitsyn tells this story in the form of a meticulously researched historical novel, supplemented by newspaper headlines of the day, fragments of street action, cinematic screenplay, and historical overview. The first two nodes—August 1914 and November 1916—focus on Russia’s crises and recovery, on revolutionary terrorism and its suppression, on the missed opportunity of Pyotr Stolypin’s reforms, and how the surge of patriotism in August 1914 soured as Russia bled in World War I.
 
March 1917—the third node—tells the story of the Russian Revolution itself, during which not only does the Imperial government melt in the face of the mob, but the leaders of the opposition prove utterly incapable of controlling the course of events. The action of book 1 (of four) of March 1917 is set during March 8–12. The absorbing narrative tells the stories of more than fifty characters during the days when the Russian Empire begins to crumble. Bread riots in the capital, Petrograd, go unchecked at first, and the police are beaten and killed by mobs. Efforts to put down the violence using the army trigger a mutiny in the numerous reserve regiments housed in the city, who kill their officers and rampage. The anti-Tsarist bourgeois opposition, horrified by the violence, scrambles to declare that it is provisionally taking power, while socialists immediately create a Soviet alternative to undermine it. Meanwhile, Emperor Nikolai II is away at military headquarters and his wife Aleksandra is isolated outside Petrograd, caring for their sick children. Suddenly, the viability of the Russian state itself is called into question.
 
The Red Wheel has been compared to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, for each work aims to narrate the story of an era in a way that elevates its universal significance. In much the same way as Homer’s Iliad became the representative account of the Greek world and therefore the basis for Greek civilization, these historical epics perform a parallel role for our modern world.
 
 

About Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Author and historian Aleksandr Isayevick Solzhenitsyn, considered by many to be the preeminent Russian writer of the second half of the 20th century, was born on December 11, 1918 in Kislovodsk in the northern Caucusus Mountains. In 1941, he graduated from Rostov University with a degree in physics and math. He also took correspondence courses at Moscow State University. Solzhenitsyn served in the Russian army during World War II but was arrested in 1945 for writing a letter criticizing Stalin. He spent the next decade in prisons and labor camps and, later, exile, before being allowed to return to central Russia, where he taught and wrote. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1974, he was arrested for treason and exiled following the publication of The Gulag Archipelago. He moved to Switzerland and later the U. S. where he continued to write fiction and history. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he returned to his homeland. He died due to a heart ailment on August 3, 2008.
 
Published November 30, 2017 by University of Notre Dame Press. 684 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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NY Journal of Books

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Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa on Nov 13 2017

March 1917 is the third “node” of the famed Russian writer and former Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic examination of the pivotal events leading up to the Bolshevik seizure of power...

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