kisioned with Bolshevik dictatorship. Herndid all these things and even brieflyrnmounted a renewed assault on SovietrnRussia, trying to convince his Westernrncontacts that he was worthy of supportrnand hoping to convert the sea of Russianrnpeasants to White republicanism with anrnattractive array of slogans. He did allrnthese things, and failed. Within a year ofrndie eacuation to the Crimea, the Wlriterncause would be irretrievably lost, andrnWrangel and a host of others wouldrnspend die rest of their lives attempting tornexplain, if not justify, die ineptness of arnWiitc leadership that had failed to recognizernthe political imperatives of the modernrnage.rnThe ideological cohesion, strict discipline,rnand strong leadership of Lenin,rni’rotsky, Stalin, and company had enabledrnthe Bolsheviks to read the epochalrntea leaves correctly and organize a modernrnpolitical campaign that mobilizedrndie narrow self-interest, cnN-y, and resentment,rnas well as the highest aspirations, ofrnthe atomized masses to the service of thernall-knowing, all-seeing state. Mussolini,rnHirier, Mao, and FDR would follow suit,rnas would Madison Avenue and Hollywood.rnThe People had made their real,rnand final, choice.rnThis aspect of a previously recognizedrninsight—leaving out FDR, if not Hollywood,rnfrom the totalitarian rogue’srngaller—is most likely the Big Point thatrnprofessors of history, quite correctly, willrnurge dieir students to take from Red Victor)’.rnNeverdicless, judging from the textrnitself, if there is a single Big Point that W.rnBruce Lincoln hoped his readers wouldrnglean from this book—the final volumernin a trilogy that began with In War’s DarkrnShadow: The Russians Before the GreatrnWar and continued with PassagernThrough Armageddon: The Russians inrnWar and Revolution —this reviewer hasrnfailed to see it. Beyond a mainstreamrnworldview that sometimes seems to letrnthe “progressive” Bolsheviks off die hookrna bit too easily and at other times may bernslighdy too unsympathetic to the Wliites,rnLincoln has no “framework” (as academicsrnput it) for analyzing the mass ofrninformation he sets out in Red Victory, nornreadily identifiable theory of history, politics,rnor economics that would facilitate anrnintellectually rigorous examination of therncauses, effects, or course of the RussianrnCivil War. hi short, his book makes nornattempt to telegraph to the reader whatrndie Big Point is, which means there is norneffort to veil liberal snobbishness in theoreticalrnpretentiousness. That is not Dr.rnLincoln’s forte, and he is honest enoughrnto forego such empty posturing.rnWhat Lincoln has given us is a highlyrnreadable and readily accessiblernhistory in narrative form that assumes hisrnreaders can think for themselves. Hisrnbook allows the record. Red and Wliite,rnto speak for itself, unsanitized in the interestrnof any discernible political agendarnor on behalf of any particular academicrntheory. Epic in scope, Red Victory neverthelessrnis human in scale: Like a skilledrnnovelist, Lincoln arrays a Tolstoyan castrnof characters, each with a “fascinatingrntalc” to tell, as the author writes in hisrnpreface, each one managing to illuminaternthe often confused events, themselvesrnlost in a fog of war and social upheaval.rnBruce Lincoln’s success inrnpresenting diis tale of sweep and highrndrama, of human pathos, tragedy, andrnlow comedy in a coherent fashion thatrnmanages to cram in necessary informationrneven as it sustains a compelling narrativernforce is a truly remarkable achievement.rnMore than anything else, Red Victoryrnis a fine example of history as dramaticrnchronicle, displaying Man in all his gloryrnas fallen angel and also Man as the agentrnof evil, as killer angel. At times, the bookrnreads like a Russified version of a novel byrnCorniac McCarthy, evoking a Gnosticrnsense of the evil world: As the Reds tightenrntheir grip and terrorize the peasantry,rnreluctant to give up grain to Clicka expropriators,rnthe heretofore sympatheticrninhabitants of the village succumb to diernsavagery that has become commonplacernin their land, now a hellish tapestry of demonicrnviolence.rnTambov [peasant] partisans nailedrnknown and suspected Bolsheviks torntrees, often by driving a single railroadrnspike through the victim’s leftrnarm and foot and leaving him torndangle in agony a few feet abovernthe ground . . . [the peasant partisans]rnmaimed and mutilated tiieirrnvictims, flaying some, quarteringrnothers, and disemboweling still othernr s . . . they often buried capturedrnenemies alive, but took care tornleave flieir victims’ heads abovernground so that peasant womenrncould urinate on them before thernvillage dogs closed in to gnaw thernstill living flesh from their faces andrnskulls.rnThe Cheka, of course, had alreadyrnmade its reputation by skinning prisonersrnalive, gouging out their eyes, crucifyingrnthem, and by developing a system of concentrationrncamps that would eventuallyrnmetastasize, assuming the form ofrnSolzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. I’lierndescent into savager}’ had made death thernonly currency, with many buying freedomrnby their own hand: Moscow sociologistrnPitirim Sorokin recorded a series ofrngruesome suicides by poison, hanging,rnand ever)’- other conceivable means duringrnthe dreadfiil winter of 1919-20. ThernRussian “Civil War” was more than war:rnIt was an orgy of rape, pillage, and murder,rnforeshadowing what was to come.rn”There is no point in cursing anyone,”rnwrote conservative historian Yuriy Goternin his Moscow diary in 1921, the year ofrnthe Reds’ final consolidation of power.rn”A people that has ruined itself has nornright to demand anyone’s help or sympathy.”rnThus did a sincere Russian patriotrngrimly judge his own country.rnThe same Yuriy Gote—and a few ofrnhis neighbors—had earlier displayed behaviorrnriiat one might interpret as a signrnof hope for redemption even in therndepths of hell’s inner circle. Gote’s wiferndied during the same Moscow winterrnwhen Sorokin kept his grim accountingrnof death’s icy harvest. The neighborsrnfashioned a coffin out of “the rough remainsrnof a garden fence,” sacrificing preciousrnfuel so that his wife could have arnChristian burial. Gote put the crude receptaclernfor his wife’s earthly remains onrna horse-drawn sledge and drove it somern30 miles to a graveyard at Moscow’s Virgins’rnConvent. Lincoln records that herncarried his grim cargo to Moscow at nightrnso as to avoid trouble: The Bolshevik bureaucratsrnhad restricted the use of woodrnfor such personal uses. Gote told his diary.rnThe moon was shining and thernwhole sky was sown with stars. Herrnlast ride was in this magical setting.rn. . . The Revolution has devouredrnever^ihing that was most dear to mern. . . . There is nothing ahead butrnterrible loneliness and fear ofrnhunger.rnRussia had succumbed to the Bolsheviks’rnskillful use of the “wolfs fang” (thernRed terror) and the “fox’s tail” (effectivernpropaganda). The reader may judge forrnhimself die lessons to be learned from thernstory Dr. Lincoln tells. crnDECEMBER 1999/29rnrnrn