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17 November 2018

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An American Diplomat in Bolshevik Russia

By DeWitt Clinton Poole, Lorraine M. Lees and William S. Rodner Editors (Univ. of Wisc, $26.95)

This compiled, edited and copiously footnoted diary is a historical treasure trove for an era that will never be short on paradoxes, colorful characters, brutal conflict, and harrowing circumstances. Poole, one of the last American diplomats in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and before recognition in 1933, was a cool, detached observer of events, and rather prescient in his predictions of where Bolshevism was headed. This book’s strength is that it is really two interpretations: Poole’s direct accounts of events in 1917 and 1918, and his hind-sighted commentary 40 years later. Invaluable reading for anyone interested in the period.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Mar/Apr 2015