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Russian Roulette: Book summary and reviews of Russian Roulette by Giles Milton

Russian Roulette

How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution

by Giles Milton

Russian Roulette by Giles Milton X
Russian Roulette by Giles Milton
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A beguiling ride through a riotous time by a historian and able storyteller who knows his facts and his audience." - Kirkus

"While brilliant spycraft frustrated a Soviet-led invasion of India, Morton fails to make his case that it thwarted world revolution, but readers will not regret picking up this entertaining history of spectacular, often nasty derring-do by real-life secret agents." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Giles Milton Author Biography

British writer and journalist Giles Milton was born in Buckinghamshire in 1966.  He has contributed articles for most of the British national newspapers as well as many foreign publications, and specializes in the history of travel and exploration. In the course of his researches, he has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and the Far East, and the Americas.

Knowledgeable, insatiably curious and entertaining, Milton locates history's most fascinating—and most overlooked—stories and brings them to life in his books.

He lives in London, where he is a member of the Hakluyt Society, which is dedicated to reprinting the works of explorers and adventurers in scholarly editions, some of which he uses in his research.  He wrote most of ...

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