The Russian Revolution had a decisive impact on the history of the twentieth century. Now, following the collapse of the Soviet regime and the opening of its archives, it is possible to step back and see the full picture. In this classic work, the author incorporates data from archives that were previously inaccessible not only to Western but also to Soviet historians, as well as drawing on important recent Russian publications such as the memoirs of one of the great survivors of Soviet politics, Vyacheslav Molotov. Impeccable in its scholarship and objectivity, the book tells a gripping story of a Marxist revolution that was intended to transform the world, visited enormous suffering on the Russian people, and, like the French Revolution before it, ended up by devouring its own children. In a concluding section that will be of great interest to scholars in the field as well as the general reader, the author treats the Stalinist Great Purges as the last act of the drama of the Russian Revolution.