A People´s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
Wonderful. If there's a man who can write non-fiction books Orlando Figes is one. I wish he would write about other times and places, I would buy his books immediately. His other book on Russia's culture (Natasha's Dance) is also great. The best thing about this author is that anything he writes about, no matter how complicated it may seem or how foreign it may be, he makes it vivid and absorbing. Reading him is like having your best friend trying to make you understand something you've been studying but still can't get the gist of.
I like the way he presents us with the facts. It's not deferential to any political side. He talks about the people, not about ideas or policies. He lets us know how people lived, their environment, their heritage and personal backgrounds, how they felt and what they believed in, what they lacked and what they wanted. It's all about people. You see what they did, you know their circumstances, then you judge. I love that.
I did notice, though, that the author tends to explain (or should I say blame?) failure many times on lack of a consensus between factions, which seems to me a childish excuse, an easy scapegoat. Then, when he presents other versions of the facts, and compares them to his, he always makes sure his version stands middle-of-the-way between the "rightist" and the "leftist". But I doubt if there really exists any "rightist" version at all in some cases. Anyway, this book was a pleasure to read.