March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

Will Englund. Norton, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-393-29208-4
Despite the plethora of books on WWI, Englund, an experienced Moscow-based correspondent for the Washington Post, crafts a novel and persuasive point of entry into the topic, focusing on the pivotal month of March 1917—“the most critical month in Washington since the Civil War.” He structures his narrative history around two primary developments: the lead-up to U.S. involvement in the war in Europe, amid unceasing German submarine warfare and after raucous domestic debate, and the overthrow of czarist autocracy in Russia. Englund alternates between these two primary narratives and deftly interweaves additional stories and anecdotes to provide social, cultural, and political context for this pivotal time. These elements largely center on the U.S.: race relations, labor disputes, music, sports, and more. Englund uses light and compelling storytelling to enliven multiple narratives of select individuals, including then-President Woodrow Wilson, former president Theodore Roosevelt, “professional revolutionary” Leon Trotsky, women suffrage activists, an American banker in Russia witnessing its revolution, and a privileged couple in the Ukraine. Despite the lack of any groundbreaking perspectives or material, Englund delivers a satisfying, well written, and well timed work. Illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 03/07/2017
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-393-29209-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-461-1
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