In the High Peaks

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Russian Revolution Centenary--A Great Book Discovery

One of my reading adventures this week would not have happened without the New York Public Library. (That's the New York [City] Public Library.] Because I am a resident of New York State, I am permitted to have all the privileges of a New York Public Library Card Holder. In fact, I've had my NYPL library card for a number of years. Lots and lots of state funds support this library, so it's great that all New York State residents can take advantage.

I use Flipster often. Flipster at NYPL includes 114 popular magazines that can be read remotely. My favorite is Library Journal, because that's how I find out about lots of new books being published.

But my BIG discovery this week was CloudLibrary, an e-book and audiobook company owned by 3M, available through NYPL, which includes many, many downloadable e-books, both fiction and nonfiction. Their list is not dumb-downed--how wonderful!

This week I downloaded and have been reading a treasure of a book published for the Russian Revolution Centenary (1917). Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, 1917—A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport is an outstanding blow-by-blow description of all of the events of 1917 in St. Petersburg (named Petrograd in 1914, and Leningrad still later). Rappaport, the author of my much-enjoyed The Romanov Sisters, which I read in February, wrote this by uncovering and deeply ferreting out accounts by all the English, Scottish, American, and French diplomats, bankers, businessmen, medical specialists, and journalists living in St. Petersburg at  the time. The city was full of foreigners. And, until now, no one has collected their eyewitness accounts of Petrograd in 1917, from the February Revolution through the Bolshevik October Revolution.

The account is mesmerizing, and unfolds, in some ways like a novel, as the reader follows the key eyewitnesses' accounts of all that occurred. This book makes it abundantly clear that the so-called "February Revolution," was every bit as bloody and mutinous and out of control as the Bolshevik Revolution.  Hats off to Rappaport for writing this book, with such care to sources and such abundant research.


  1. The NYPL card was in my 'pro-NY' column when deciding whether to become a FL resident, though I ultimately chose to jump south...

    1. But JoAnn, if you own property in NYS, and pay taxes on property you own here, then you would be totally eligible. Just a thought from me, the bookish monster woman.
      Happy reading this summer!

    2. You just made my day, Judith... and happy reading to you, too! :)

    3. All I know is, that card is well worth the trouble of getting it!