The gripping human story of how American volunteers fought famine in Bolshevik Russia, saving Lenin's revolutionary government from chaos and millions of people from starvation.
In 1921, after six years of unrelenting war and revolution, Russia was in ruins. The economy had collapsed and starvation claimed the lives of millions. People were so desperate for food that there were reports of cannibalism, reports that were revealed to be horribly accurate.
In The Russian Job acclaimed historian Douglas Smith tells this gripping story that shines a bright light on the untold story of how American volunteers saved millions of Russian lives.
'These young men come to life in Smith's book, flickering past like characters in the black-and-white movies of the era . . . Clear, forceful, and compelling, The Russian Job tells us what happened and who made it happen.' LA Review of Books
'Brilliant, disturbing and at times horrifically graphic . . . an important story that needed to be told. A fast-moving and most compelling read.' Helen Rappaport, author of Four Sisters
Section - i: Prologue: Mr. Wolfe's Horrifying Discovery Unit - 1: 1921 Unit - 2: 1922 Unit - 3: 1923 Section - ii: A Note on Sources Section - iii: Select Biography Acknowledgements - iv: Acknowledgements Index - v: Index
The hair-raising account of a great humanitarian act . . . Smith adeptly navigates all elements of the story . . . This expert account deserves a large readership. * Kirkus Reviews * Brilliant, disturbing and at times horrifically graphic . . . an important story that needed to be told and Doug Smith has produced a fast moving and most compelling read. -- Helen Rappaport, author of <i>Four Sisters</i> Talented and prolific . . . a heroic tale -- Joshua Sanborn * TLS * Superb * Financial Times Books of the Year * Succinct and readable -- Anna Reid * Literary Review * [Smith's] prose moves at a fast clip . . . An intriguing window onto the humanitarian work of the past. * Publishers Weekly * Based on rich archival materials, [The Russian Job] focuses on a group of young Americans who set off for Russia, lured by the exotic and the unknown, and found themselves in the middle of a horrific tragedy . . . Rare photos included in the book lend Smith's account an eerie vividness. -- Maria Lipman * Foreign Affairs * The Russian Job by Douglas Smith repudiates the modern mythologies of both [the United States and Russia], and their leaders' twisted histories . . . It is not just Russia that needs to be reminded of this story - so does America, which derived much of its 20th-century greatness from its values rather than military power. * Economist * The American troops who landed in Russia to help reverse the Bolshevik coup of 1917 did little to change history, but cast as imperialist villains, they were useful to Soviet propagandists charged with rewriting it. In The Russian Job, Douglas Smith tells the remarkable tale of a different, largely forgotten yet infinitely more effective intervention . . . A well-written account of a story that should not have passed into obscurity. -- Andrew Stuttaford * Wall Street Journal * These young men come to life in Smith's book, flickering past like characters in the black-and-white movies of the era. Their heroism and failings, their love of Russia (and Russian women) help humanize a story that could all too easily slip into the grim abstraction of statistics, which touch neither mind nor heart. Despite the epic sweep, the horror and moral splendor of this story, it is essentially unknown . . . This book, Smith says at the outset, 'seeks to right this wrong.' It succeeds. Clear, forceful, and compelling, The Russian Job tells us what happened and who made it happen. * LA Review of Books *