The Revolutionist by Robert Littell

The Revolutionist

An epic saga of the Soviet Union's brutal first decades-from The New York Times bestselling master of espionage. Hailed as "the American le Carré," Robert Littell presents an ambitious novel about star-crossed idealist Alexander Til. When Til returns from America to Petrograd on the eve of the October Revolution in 1917, it is to put his life on the line in the hope of transforming Russia. But after witnessing the birth of a new era, he watches...

Details The Revolutionist

TitleThe Revolutionist
Release DateSep 1st, 1989
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Russia, Spy Thriller, Espionage

Reviews The Revolutionist

  • William Hill
    Anyone interested in the Stalinist Era or has a curiosity of the beginnings of communism in the former Soviet Union should read this book. Of course, with historical fiction the author (admittedly) has taken some liberties with some of the unknowns in history. Never-the-less Littell has once again created a wonderful story from an evil past - about evil men - and more importantly exposes the failings of communism in the wake of the Russian revolu...
  • Gary Thompson
    Critically approved author Robert Littel gave us a book for the ages in the form of The Revolutionist. By all accounts, the author was able to capture the essence of Russia’s 20th century history along with the cultural nuances of that war torn period. He brought us through history with the life of his lead character Alexander Til, in a way that was so gritty and so entertaining that it made the book a page by page good read. Alexander Til, nic...
  • Mel
    If this was simply historical fiction about the Russian Revolution, I would have rated it much higher. Unfortunately, Littell ruined the book by inserting graphic sexual discussions and graphic sex acts for no reason. I'm all for well-placed sex scenes that add to the story. But every few pages, someone will bring up their cock or cunt (their words, not mine) and discuss in detail various uses for these body parts. "Hey Ivan, hold my cock," says ...
  • Michael
    This novel is a good read, particularly if you want a broad picture of the drama and tragedy of the Russian Revolution and its Stalinist aftermath. in some ways, though, the tale struck me as contrived. The protagonist, Zander Til, is like Woody Allen's Zelig in that he just happens to present at every key moment in history, from the Triangle Fire of 1911 to Stalin's death in 1953. In between, he can be found running through the Winter Palace at ...
  • Dave
  • Joe
    I enjoy reading historical novels, and this one is no exception. I like doing so because they bring to life history in a way that is consumable and enlightening. I knew of course that Russia was a bloodbath for decades but really had no sense of scale until reading this book. I also had no sense of why Russians are so paranoid and this book helps illustrate the why.
  • Kevin Coombs
    I've been working my way through Littell's bibliography, most of which I have read previously, at one point or another. Somehow, this one I had missed. As an avid reader, it's hard to decide if I wish I had read it closer to its publication, or if I am glad I discovered it now. It is a gem. Most of Littell's work revolves around espionage, particularly during the Cold War. Perhaps the fact that this book is entirely different somehow put me off a...
  • Nenette87 Piccolanay
    Tout d'abord, merci beaucoup à Babelio ainsi qu'à l'éditeur BakerStreet de m'avoir donné l'opportunité de lire cet ouvrage, via le dispositif de Masse Critique.Je suis une grande fan de Robert Littell et je suis vraiment ravie d'avoir eu l'opportunité de ce livre initialement paru 1989 et réédité par Baker Street cette année. Je dois dire que cette lecture fut longue. 500 pages en grand format, l'équivalent d'un 900 pages en poche je p...
  • Sandy
    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Russian/Soviet history who is looking for a fairly general understanding of the sequence of events that led Russia to challenge and ultimately destroy the tsarist empire, and the evolution of the Bolshevik revolutionary project from a small but dedicated cadre of Marxist reformers to a mass movement that inflicted immense terror and initiated massive changes in the makeup of Russia's economy, so...
  • Jak60
    The story is an interesting one, there is a good deal of research work behind, and the characters are quite engaging; however, the novel does not have the tension, the energy that such a subject would naturally deserve; it feels as if you are taken to a walk through the October revolution as a distant observer, rather than to a frantic ride through those turbulent events. There's a lot of set up in the first third of the book, before the story ge...
  • Daniel Cunha
    yes, I am on something of a USSR / Cold War binge. This has long been a fascinating subject to me, and every once in a while I need a new fix!As far as "life behind the iron curtain" books go, I quite liked this one, for a couple of reasons. First of all, this one goes way back to before the revolution, and starts when the international communist movement was still taking shape around the world, in this case, in NY as Trotsky was fund-raising on ...
  • Lucy
    Serviceable but ultimately mediocre thriller. At least it doesn't paint the Revolution as wholly negative and Felix Yusupov vs. his sexy Bolshevik twin sister Lili gives the book a bit of novelty value. I am not afraid to admit that I would read an entire novel about the Lili/Felix plotline because it's just that awesomely ludicrous. It would almost certainly be a horribly cheesy guilty pleasure, but I'd rather have evil aristocratic twins vs. go...
  • Charles Martin
    A novel about the emergence of the USSR as told by a idealistic socialist is as horrifying and depressing as one would imagine. It is a fascinating look into the great experiment of communism and it's inevitable and soul crushing failure. There is nothing surprising about the novel, I knew the ride I was about to go on and the book fatefully followed through with a very sober look at what went so wrong in Russia and why.
  • Harold
    Excellent novel on the the Russian Revolution and the subsequent rise of Stalinism. The book poses the question of whether it was the ideals of the revolution that were at fault or was it the people who implemented it. Interesting all the way through. Under my old rating system I would have given it five stars but I'm reserving five stars writing the caliber of Borges or Casares.
  • Andre
    Read it in French. While it's written correctly, somewhat immersive and based upon history, I found my experience of it lukewarm. It's taking liberties with history (not a specialist on the period but it was a biased view), the characters are somewhat extremes and the overall effect felt forced to me.
  • Christine
    An excellent story that brings to life the idealism behind the Russian Revolution and the grim reality of the Stalinist world. Readable and enjoyable, but dense enough to paint the characters well. Definitely recommend.
  • Jason S
    Great book...very engaging historical fiction. The only downside was that a part of the sotry line was very similar to Littell's most recent Stalin Epigram. Littell is definitely a master of this genre.
  • Christian Conti
    One of his best, a sweeping story of the idealism and subsequent disillusionment with the Russian revolution, told through the action-packed lives of some very compelling bit players.
  • Brian Borgford
    Great pice of fiction set realistically in historical Russia. The speculative history ending will make you think.
  • Wesley
    Pretty good. A good complement to Ayn Rand's We the Living. About a Russian Jew who particates in the Russian revolution but who questions the outcome.
  • Monica Perez
    A well written novel about an American immigrant who went back to Russia to fight for the revolution.
  • Yves Panis
    Cultissime. Du niveau de La Compagnie. C'est dire....,la Russie de 1917 à 1953....à travers les yeux d'un révolutionnaire juif revenu de tout...
  • David Orphal
    Wow. Great book! Well researched and compelling. A fun way to learn about the communist revolution