The Russian Civil War of 1917-1921, a cataclysmic series of overlapping conflicts, was a pivotal event in modern history. It was the Bolshevik victory in this bloody struggle, not in the skirmishes on the streets of Petrograd and Moscow in October 1917, which secured the victory of Soviet Communism and provided its legitimacy for seventy years of rule. This book traces the clash between the 'Reds' of the Moscow-based Soviet regime and the 'Whites', the militaristic, counter-revolutionary governments which were established around the periphery of Russia and aided by Allied interventionists. In particular, it details the epic history of the White movement in Siberia, and the fortunes of its leader, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. Using a wide range of contemporary sources, Jonathan Smele examines Kolchak's political and military record, and concludes that the White defeat resulted as much from the harsh facts of Siberian economy and geography as from failures of White policy and leadership.
"This large study deserves a place in major academic libraries." F.J. Breit, Choice "...this examination of the Kolchak episode in counterrevolutionary history easily surpasses in documentation and sensible analysis earlier studies of the White movement in Siberia." John M. Thompson, Slavic Review "As the definitive treatment of one of the most important episodes in Russia's turbulent history, this book does much to clarify our understanding of the forces and events that brought the Soviet Union into being. Smele paints a canvas of great breadth and fascinating perspective. Exhaustive and far-ranging research makes this book all but certain to become a classic is its field, and all historians of the Russian Civil War and Siberia must stand greatly in its author's debt for that reason." W. Bruce Lincoln, American Historical Review "This is the fullest account to date of the rise of the White movement in Siberia." Vladimir Brovkin, The Historian