Readers in the Anglophone world are far behind the French, Germans, and Russians in being able to confront Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s massive and magisterial The Red Wheel on its own terms. The centerpiece of that work is March 1917 (made up of four volumes), if one uses the nomenclature of the Gregorian rather than Julian calendars (Russians typically refer to the February and October revolutions of 1917, rather than March and November which are the standard usages in the West). The augmented August 1914 centered around the disastrous Battle of Tannenberg at the beginning of World War I, and had a cycle of chapters looking back on the Russian statesman Pyotr Stolypin’s noble and tough-minded efforts to save Russia from both stagnation and revolution. November...

 

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