War and Revolution

The United States and Russia, 1914-1921

Norman E. Saul

For Russia, it was a time of troubles: war, famine, and social upheaval the likes of which the world had never seen before. World War I, two revolutions in 1917, and the subsequent civil war and Allied intervention completely eradicated one regime and replaced it with a radically new one. Now an award-winning diplomatic historian ties these events together to reveal their far-reaching consequences for the future of not only the new Soviet Union but of the United States as well.

In War and Revolution, Norman Saul offers a fresh analysis of this troubled era in Russia and of the American reaction to it. Tracing the events surrounding America's entry into the European conflict and its encouragement of continued Russian participation even in the face of domestic unrest, he shows how those circumstances adversely affected relations between two nations and shaped their futures in the century ahead.

“These two volumes [together w/ Concord and Conflict] continue the exhaustive study Saul begin in his award-winning Distant Friends. . . . Like that first book in the trilogy, the books reviewed here entail a broad sweep of history as fascinating as it is important. Saul tells a complicated story. His work will be definitive for years to come. It sets high standards of analytical excellence.

—Diplomatic History

“A first rate social history of American-Russian relations in a tumultuous era.

—The Russian Review
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Drawing on rarely accessed military and diplomatic archives in both countries, Saul reaches beyond official actions to give readers a vivid sense of those times. He surveys the vast panorama of events while providing not only detailed accounts of the activities of consular, diplomatic, and military staffs but also colorful vignettes of ordinary Americans in Russia involved in humanitarian relief and other activities. Businessmen and artists, Red Cross volunteers and journalists-all were caught up in the immediacy of war and revolution, and all contributed to the shifting sentiments of two nations.

War and Revolution is the third volume in Saul's sweeping history of U.S.-Russian relations, already hailed for setting "a new standard for how the history of international relations ought to be written" (TLS). Here he further develops the theme of "mirror-imaging," describing ways in which Americans and Russians saw themselves as having a common relationship distinguished from other European or Asian nations. Despite the turmoil of this era, he explains, Russians continued to look to America for ideas and models while Americans expected Russians to follow their lead in developing resources and reforming institutions.

By 1921, Americans were in a quandary about Russia as its former friend pursued a hostile course beyond U.S. control. Saul's account of those years clearly shows how this parting of the ways came about—and how it set the stage for a cold war that would test both country's wills later in the century.

About the Author

Norman E. Saul is professor of history and Russian and East European studies at the University of Kansas. His previous books on U.S.-Russian relations are Distant Friends: The United States and Russia, 1763–1867, winner of the 1993 Byron Caldwell Smith Book Award, and Concord and Conflict: the United States and Russia, 1867–1914, winner of the 1997 Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize, both from Kansas.