Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette : How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution

3.87 (322 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 378 pages
  • 162.56 x 238.76 x 48.26mm | 680.39g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Plates, black and white; Maps; Illustrations, black and white
  • 1620405687
  • 9781620405680
  • 1,215,849

Review quote

"Replete with cloak-and-dagger details...Milton's vivid presentation...will entertain aficionados of intelligence." --Booklist

"Milton has a rare ability--a talent for sifting fine pearls from faraway sands and transmuting the merely arcane into little literary gems." --Simon Winchester, Boston Globe
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About Giles Milton

Giles Milton is the author of many books including the international bestsellers Nathaniel's Nutmeg and Big Chief Elizabeth. His other titles include The Riddle and the Knight: In Search of Sir John Mandeville, Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan, and Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War. His website is and he tweets at @SurviveHistory. He lives in London.
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Rating details

322 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 23% (75)
4 47% (150)
3 25% (80)
2 5% (16)
1 0% (1)
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