Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy
Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning... show more
Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding peasants and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution, it is the story of how a centuries’-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the Tsar and Empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia.Yet Former People is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class—so-called “former people” and “class enemies”—overcame the psychological wounds inflicted by the loss of their world and decades of repression as they struggled to find a place for themselves and their families in the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families—the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns—it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on. Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia’s most powerful aristocratic families, and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.
Publish date: October 2nd 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages no: 496
Edition language: English
You may say 'oh, this is a book about rich idle people who got what they deserved'. Or 'why should I care about what happened to a bunch of rich guys whose estates got burnt to the ground?' Well yes, these were rich people. Specifically, these were people from two branches of aristocracy, Sheremetev...
I think the scope was too large (i have read better accounts of all the events) but I thought the conclusion tied it all up so well (maybe better at the beginning), I gave it an extra star.
BOTWLate 19th century. Russia races towards industrialisation, and the people want change. blurb: From the last days of the monarchy to the Red Terror of the Bolshevik Revolution and then Stalin's 'Operation Former People', the hundreds of thousands of families who formed the Russian nobility were s...
This is certainly "Epic in scope" and "intimate in detail" and Douglas Smith describes what happened to the Sheremetevs and Golitsyn's families, two of Russia's grandest and oldest aristocratic families during and after the Russian Revolution. I really enjoy Russian history and have read quite a lo...