with each other over the design of thenVietnam Veterans Memorial, exorcisingndemons, pummehng each othernin the national media, praying for respect.nAtkinson’s tale is epic, and his tellingnof it is a masterwork, the great book onnthe Vietnam era. Throughout, he doesnhis reader the great service of separatingnthe warrior from the war, allowingnus to hear the words that still ring in thenears of West Pointers: “through all ofnthis welter of change, your missionnremains fixed, determined, inviolablen— it is to win wars. Only the dead havenseen the end of war.”nNeal F. Freeman is chairman of thenBlackwell Corporation, anWashington-based televisionnproduction company.nThe Civil War andnPerestroikanby Michael WardernRed Victory: A History of thenRussian Civil Warnby W. Bruce LincolnnNew York: Simon and Schuster;n637 pp., $24.95nT o calculate where a cannonballnwill land, it is necessary to know itsninitial angle of trajectory and thenamount of force that propels it. It is thenpersuasive thesis of W. Bruce Lincolnnthat the Russian Civil War was thenhistoric explosion that ever since hasndetermined the direction and velocity ofnthe Soviet system. As the formativenexperience in the creation of the Sovietnstate, the civil war is now especiallynuseful in understanding the dynamicsninvolved in the current dissolution ofnthe Soviet Empire. While traditionalnSoviet historians and other scholars havenemphasized the October Revolution ofn1917 as the key to Soviet history,nLincoln — whose latest book successfullyncompletes the masterly trilogynwhich began with In War’s Dark Shadow:nThe Russians Before the GreatnWar and was followed by PassagenThrough Armageddon: The Russiansnin War & Revolution 1914-1918 —nmakes a compelling case for his revisionistnview.nWhile the October Revolution constitutednthe “Ten Days That Shook thenWorld,” it was the Provisional Governmentnof Kerensky that replaced, innMarch 1917, the three-hundred-yearoldnRomanov Dynasty: this event,nwhich occurred during the devastationnof World War I, changed the basis ofnRussian sovereignty for the first timensince the 12th century. In contrast, thenLeninist putsch eight months later simplynbrought down the Kerensky governmentnin a conflict that involved lessnthan 10,000 combatants and resultednin little loss of life. An estimated tennmillion people died in the RussiannCivil War, including those dead fromncombat, starvation, and disease. (Thisnfigure does not include the four to fivenmillion people who died from diseasenand starvation following the last majornbattle of the civil war, the heroic andnbloody Kronstadt revolt of the Petrogradnsailors in March 1921.)nWhile body counts may be an accuratenindicator of the level of importance,nit cannot capture the’essence ofncivil war, whether Spanish, American,nor Russian. Civil wars are strugglesnover the fundamental nature and structurenof a nation. They are blood feudsnwrit large that pit father against son andnbrother against brother. Or as FelixnDzerzhinskii, founder of what becamennnthe KGB, put it during the war, “Wendon’t want justice. We want to settlenaccounts.” General Lavr Kornilov, formerncommander in chief of the RussiannArmy in 1917 and commander ofnthe Civil War White Army in SouthnRussia, said it this way: “We must savenRussia even if we have to set fire to halfnof it and shed the blood of threefourthsnof all the Russians!” Only innthat frame of mind could combatantsncut off the arms and legs of the enemy,nslit his abdomen, and then bury himnalive.nIn scale, the Russian Civil War hasnno historical parallel. It spread overnone-sixth of the earth’s land mass,nthrough 11 time zones, and involvednone hundred non-Russian nationalngroups within what was formerly thenRussian Empire. By August 1918,nthere were 30 different governmentsnwithin the Empire’s boundaries, 29 ofnthem opposed to the Bolsheviks. ThenCommunists controlled about thensame territory as did the Muscovitenstate in 1550 — perhaps one-tenth ofnthe Empire of 1914. The ProvisionalnGovernment of Autonomous Siberianand the Committee of Members of thenConstituent Assembly were but twonexamples of temporary governmentsnthat controlled millions of square milesnof territory. Over 200,000 soldiersnMAY 1990/39n