Catalogue


History's greatest heist : the looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks /
Sean McMeekin.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2009.
description
xxii, 302 p., [6] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0300135580 (alk. paper), 9780300135589 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2009.
isbn
0300135580 (alk. paper)
9780300135589 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6712265
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-285) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Ed A. Hewett Book Prize, USA, 2010 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-11-01:
If one can get past the outrage that animates this book, it contains some interesting and even useful information. Unfortunately, McMeekin (international relations, Bilkent Univ., Turkey) is so angered by the Soviet revolution and the expropriation of private wealth by the Bolshevik government that it skews the entire work, from his far too rosy view of the productive potential of czarist Russia to the slangy vocabulary that gives the appearance of borrowing from The Sopranos. The author ignores the rich material on war communism written during the last years of the Soviet regime; his bibliography is all too reminiscent of those found in the 1950s and early 1960s. Essentially, McMeekin refuses to perceive the Soviets as anything but a gang of thugs stealing and exploiting Russia's accumulated wealth. Still, he describes the process of the takeover with considerable verve and some humor. The second, larger portion of the book deals with the Soviet government's ultimately successful efforts first to bypass the trade blockade imposed by the Entente powers, and then to achieve commercial treaties. While professional students of Soviet Russia may find the work useful, it cannot be recommended for student use. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate students, faculty. J. Zimmerman emerita, University of Pittsburgh
Reviews
Review Quotes
Received Honorable Mention for the 2010 Ed A. Hewett Book Prize, sponsored by the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, and awarded by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Historians have never resolved a central mystery of the Russian Revolution: how did the Bolsheviks, despite facing a world of enemies and leaving nothing but economic ruin in their path, manage to stay in power through five long years of civil war? This text exposes some of the darkest secrets of Russia's early days of communism.
Main Description
Historians have never resolved a central mystery of the Russian Revolution: How did the Bolsheviks, despite facing a world of enemies and leaving nothing but economic ruin in their path, manage to stay in power through five long years of civil war? In this penetrating book, Sean McMeekin draws on previously undiscovered materials from the Soviet Ministry of Finance and other European and American archives to expose some of the darkest secrets of Russia's early days of communism. Building on one archival revelation after another, the author reveals how the Bolsheviks financed their aggression through astonishingly extensive thievery. Their looting included everything from the cash savings of private citizens to gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, icons, antiques, and artwork. By tracking illicit Soviet financial transactions across Europe, McMeekin shows how Lenin's regime accomplished history's greatest heist between 1917 and 1922 and turned centuries of accumulated wealth into the sinews of class war. McMeekin also names names, introducing for the first time the compliant bankers, lawyers, and middlemen who, for a price, helped the Bolsheviks launder their loot, impoverish Russia, and impose their brutal will on millions.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
A Note on Transliteration, Names, and Translation
A Note on the Relative Value of Money Then and Now
Prologue: The Patrimony of Imperial Russia
Introduction to Bolshevik Gold: The Nature of a Forgotten Problemp. 1
The Heistp. 9
The Banksp. 11
The Peoplep. 35
The Gokhranp. 54
The Churchp. 73
Cashing Inp. 93
Brest-Litovsk and the Diplomatic Bagp. 95
Blockadep. 117
Stockholmp. 137
Londonp. 168
Rapallop. 199
Epilogue: From Stockholm to Sotheby'sp. 216
Dramatis Personaep. 223
Notesp. 233
Selected Bibliographyp. 273
Acknowledgmentsp. 286
Indexp. 291
Gallery follows page 92
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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