It is indeed tough for anyone to abstain themselves from being impressed by the book that Orlando Figes wrote on Russian Revolution and its after effects on the entire community. Especially, those who have some knack in studying and researching the historical events cannot go past the elaborately researched, rigorously structured, and coherently argued A People’s Tragedy- Russian Revolution 1891-1924. The book puts forward a comprehensive view of one of the most important and most complicated events in the history of the world.
The knowledge that Orlando Figes holds about Russia is amazing, and it is in his skills the way he has actually used this knowledge in addressing the larger questions of the very nature of History itself. Once Tolstoy has already mentioned some important nature about History, which says, it not the singular leaders which determine the History of a nation, instead, it is the significant gestures of the unnamed men who actually drills into the crux of the Historical events.
Orlando Figes seems to have gone by this concept pretty hard and has balanced all the facts of revolution’s great personalities with some special attention to the human context as well. This special treatment helped the fabric of a whole society to rip open. In the current trends followed, it is quite unfashionable to talk about the national characters, since the rhetoric of the national character has been quite easily adopted by the right wing to serve the purposes of racism and prejudice. As a result of this, all the arguments that Figes came up with were completely untrammeled by the political correctness, and they have the ring of truth by default.
In this book, Figes put forward the proposal that the Russian Revolution went from 1891 to 1924, and they are rightly debatable. While there have been some vague ideas regarding when the revolution actually was begun, most of the events justify the dates to be 1891 and 1924; however, they are convincingly predictable as well. The effect of choosing these dates for the revolution was Figes found it easy to tell his readers the story of two tragedies that occurred consequently. The first being the demise of the nobility, and the second one that followed was the brutal horror of the revolution itself and the dehumanization of the entire population. These two events and its outcomes kept mounting together resulting in the burst out through the Russian Revolution.
There are quite a few interesting styles and trends noticed in his form of writing. Orlando Figes proved his knowledge in ancient history by following the Tolstoyan style where he kept on telling some stories in between of the individuals who held medium importance, and this actually helped him in depicting the real picture of what men did during the course of the revolution. These individual narratives turned out to be outright prototypical and emblematic in some ways as well.
It is the game of signifier and the signified that kept on tussling in between the narratives, and in this mind game, the micro-narratives took their form and shape, making the book a cult in the history of Russian Revolution.