Book Review from the March 1968 issue of the Socialist Standard
A Short History of the Russian Revolution by Joel Carmichael, Sphere. 5s.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Bolshevik coup last November brought with it a crop of books, and so also the problem of sorting the wheat from the chaff. This paperback edition of an earlier work is one we can recommend. In two hundred or so pages Carmichael presents a readable and accurate account of events in Russia between March and November (leaning heavily on a work by the leftwing Menshevik Sukhanov which he himself has translated into English). His assessment of these events is also good and comes very near to ours.
Carmichael sees the elitist side of Bolshevik theory and also that they, once in power in a backward peasant country, were doomed to failure. They could not set up Socialism and inevitably “the former band of professional revolutionaries was radically transformed from a group of intellectuals into a corps of administrators”.