Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution

Book - 2014 | First U.S. edition.
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In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II-a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin's communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes-starting with the British Empire.

Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin's red tide from washing across the free world. They were an eccentric cast of characters, led by Mansfield Cumming, a one-legged, monocle-wearing former sea captain, and included novelist W. Somerset Maugham, beloved children's author Arthur Ransome, and the dashing, ice-cool Sidney Reilly, the legendary Ace of Spies and a model for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Cumming's network would pioneer the field of covert action and would one day become MI6.

Living in disguise, constantly switching identities, they infiltrated Soviet commissariats, the Red Army, and Cheka (the feared secret police), and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin. In a sequence of bold exploits that stretched from Moscow to the central Asian city of Tashkent, this unlikely band of agents succeeded in foiling Lenin's plot for global revolution.

Publisher: New York :, Bloomsbury Press,, 2014.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781620405680
Characteristics: xiv, 378 pages : illustrations, maps


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Feb 02, 2015

So ends in practical disaster another of Winston's military attempts...

Feb 02, 2015

Lenin himself had argued that setting India aflame was the only way to guarantee the long term destruction of the West.

Feb 02, 2015

The Cheka had proved ruthlessly efficient in times of crisis.

Feb 02, 2015

Either the Russian revolution will create a revolutionary movement in Europe, or the European powers will destroy the Russian revolution.

Feb 02, 2015

It was as if Lenin was a new Messiah, albeit one preaching violent revolution rather than peace.


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Aug 22, 2016

Great book detailing British espionage during the Russian Revolution. This book presents roots of modern spycraft. Good stuff.

Oct 09, 2014

Fascinating run through an important chunk of 20th century history, tied together from a different angle. Great reminder how many of the roots of today's Middle East mess go back nearly a century or more. Those spies did very well getting info about the insides of a chaotic revolutionary situation -- if we had that kind of on-the-ground humint today we would be surprised less often.

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