Unless otherwise noted these are books that I have read, wholly or partially. This reading list is in no particular order. - Jay Stribling
- ARMORED UNITS OF THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR (White & Allied) Osprey 2003, Bullock & Deryabin. Review by John James.
"Probably too much detail for wargamers but an interesting book nonetheless. The text describes all the armour the Whites had: tanks, armoured cars and trains. The colour plates of the Austin's, Mark V's, Whippets and Reno's are fantastic, but this information can be picked up for free on the Internet. More important are the order of battles for the armoured detachments of all the White factions.
The descriptions of the battles are useful in writing vehicles rules and designing scenarios. I was disappointed in that the Reds were not also covered in one volume - they are being released in a second book. The chapter on armoured trains was fascinating and the Czech Legion's train plates was a bonus. A great book if you want to get every single serial number, insignia and slogan right on your vehicles. But I'm not like that, I bought it for the text and photographs." (I just also purchased it and I liked the book very much - Jay Stribling)
- ARMORED CARS OF THE RCW by Tom Hillman - self published 2003. Eric Burgess Writes: "I just received my copy of ARMORED CARS OF THE RCW by Tom. At first skim-through this is truly amazing piece of work. I can't wait to read through it in detail. I would highly recommend this literary study and can't thank Tom enough for all his hard work."
This work is available on CD for $10.00 or soft-cover for $15.00. To purchase either version, contact Thomas Hillman at: firstname.lastname@example.org ".
- THE SIBERIAN INTERVENTION Mark Wanadoo, writing on the RCW list, recommends this book by John Albert White, published in 1950.
"Mostly Eastern Siberia (ie behind Kolchak). It concentrates on the US involvement but necessarily the Japanese intervention too (since this was of prime interest to the US).
I found it heavy going, because I did not like the structure rather than the writing, and it is biaised towards the US. It explains to a certain extent what Japan did and why. Basically they supported anyone who would cause trouble in order to try to grab as much territory as possible (Their policy in China,
Hence their support for Semenov, Kalmykov and Ungern-Sternberg - all of whom were militarily hopeless but
with Japanese support were able to create havoc (and were crushed the second they had to face the Reds alone)."
- VLADIVOSTOK UNDER RED AND WHITE RULE : Revolution and
Counterrevolution in the Russian Far East, 1920-1922 Mark Wanadoo, also recommends this book by Canfield F. Smith.
(It concerns) "Eastern Siberia after the fall of Kolchak, concentrating on
Vladivostok. I really enjoyed this one. The author is obviously no fan of the Whites, especially Dietrichs. ... when the Japanese faced the Red forces directly is really the crux of
the intervention. (The work is) still mostly concentrated on politics, but it did at least explain to me why and how the Whites were hanging on in the East until 1922 when they were clearly a spent force by the end of 1919.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but it seems even the Japanese interventionists weren't very keen on fighting the Soviets, and got their proxies to do all the dirty work. What fighting they did do was largely in search of partisans -- who were numerous in the area and, at times, deadly."
- WITH THE DIE-HARDS IN SIBERIA "Mark" on the RCW discussion group writes "I had mentally crossed Ward's book "With the Die-Hards in Siberia" off my list of books to buy because it is horrendously
expensive second hand, but it has been reprinted and is now quite a lot cheaper. Amazon.com does not have it but Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.uk do. The French edition is cheaper.
But those of you living in the US can buy it in e-book pdf form for the princely sum of $1.99 from Amazon.com. Those of us in Europe have to go to Amazon.co.uk where it is, oddly, rather more expensive, at £2.33 - Salut!"
"Nowfel" replying on the RCW discussion group added: "... And you can read it for free at
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10972 - Nowfel"
- REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA 1917 Grant Dyck writes: "You may wish to consider
this book by John M. Thompson - published by Macmillan, New York,1989. This was a text I studied while taking Russian history (then Soviet history) in 1990. It is a very good academic introduction to the
catastrophic events of the early revolution.
- STAMPING OUT THE VIRUS by Perry Moore. This book was discussed extensively on the RCW list. Reaction to it was mixed, to say the least. Some readers praised it for assembling a mass of information not previously available in one place. Other reviewers commented at length on the incorrectness of parts of the data. A few of the comments are given below:
By: Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins
For excellent information on To&E see "stamping out the virus" by Perry
Moore (schiffer 2002)-ISBN 0-7643-1625-7 This is an excellent book
with a HUGE amount of info. I't only drawbacks being a tendency to
overplay the part played by American troops (here we go again..) and one
or two small historical errors/ommisions, mostly on the non military
side. The writer is also a professional wargames designer so from this
perspective in info is spot on
From Tomas Hillman
I got a copy of the book. It is loaded with a ton of info. However,
it is badly compiled. The section on North Russia is well done, but
the second section is on South Russia and I was not impressed at all.
I found it very confusing and full of errors, poor conclusions and
inconsistant use of military terms in a giant "cut and paste" job.
It was a good effort to get out alot of new info, but I fear more
damage than good was done to RCW history.
It lacks footnotes or endnotes so you do not know where the numerous
quotes and pieces of other works come from. The pages that the Table
of Contents states the chapters are to begin on are off by a few
Little or no cross checking of data was done. I know this for a fact
because a badly outdated OOB that I put together some years ago is in
the book verbatim. Even my spelling mistakes...
The book has to do with Intervention in North and South Russia yet
includes a lengthy OOB on the Army of Siberia. Why? Because he had
one to put in. The book spends more time on the RCW history than the
The book does have some good info, but without footnotes and proper
references how can you believe the accuracy?
- REMEMBERING A FORGOTTEN WAR by Serge P Petroff is a good book not mentioned so far. This book is about the Civil War in the Urals and Siberia. Reviewed by "Dave Readhead".
- CRITICAL COMPANION TO THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 1914-1921 was edited by Vladimir Iu Cherniaev.
This book covers both the Military Campaigns the Armies involved as well as the Politices of both the Reds and the Whites equally Reviewed by "Dave Readhead".
- SETTING THE EAST ABLAZE by Peter Hopkirk. For the wargamer...probably not a book you want to buy - not a lot of detail about specific battles, etc. For the historians this ... provides a lot of detail about what was going just before, during and immediately after the RCW in the Eastern border regions and states, particularly the intrigue between the Russians, British, Chinese, etc. It helps relate the RCW to events in these regions.
There is some useful information about some of the independence minded Islamic regions, the Basmachi, Enver Pasha, Mongolia, the Third Afghan War, India, China, particularly events surrounding Sun Yat Sen and the province of Sinkiang...It is essentially a series of stories about the events in those regions. Most are very interesting. Hopkirk tells them quite well. The episodes are tied together but rather loosely...For 14 bucks it wasn't bad. Again, as a person interested in history, it was very useful. As a wargamer, it was probably not so useful unless you are interested in gaming some of the events in the more obscure Far East and border regions and you need a place to begin to gather resources. You could develop some very interesting what if and alternative history scenarios I suppose, at the tactical level in some cases, but better at the strategic, diplomatic and political level. Review taken from comments by "David" on the Russian Civil War discussion group.
- THE RUSSIAN ARMY 1914-18 A new book on the horizon...written by one of our RCW list members, NIK CORNISH, and illustrated by ANDREI KARACHTCHOUK (illustrator of Osprey MAA 293 & 305, Russian Civil War Armies (1) Red Army, and (2) White Armies.) This title is due for publication on November 25, 2001
About this title - The role played by the Russian Army in the Great War, holding down huge numbers of German and Austro-Hungarian divisions and to some extent co-ordinating operations with the Allies on the Western Front, was extremely important. The popular image of the Russian Army is misleading and based mostly on films, e.g. 'Dr Zhivago' and 'Nicholas and Alexandra'. At the time of the outbreak of war Russia was caught in the middle of the so-called 'Great Programme' of widespread reforms, and this was raising the standard of the army in many respects. While its weaknesses eventually proved fatal - due as much to political as military incompetence - it did win some major victories: Gen Brusilov was a very respected leader both in Russia and abroad, and his 1916 offensive smashed the Austro-Hungarian army. The uniforms of the Russian Army are a varied and colourful subject, with an exotic air wonderfully captured by the illustrator Andrei Karachtchouk.
Russia was a major combatant in World War I, and her contribution to the allied war effort involved vast numbers of men and some of the greatest battles of the war. This book details some of the most exotically uniformed troops, of World War I.
This notice is taken from the Osprey press release and was posted to the RCW discussion group by "falange36.
- ONE MAN IN HIS TIME by Prince Serge Obolenski. This is my recommendation to read about WW1 and RCW, featuring brilliantly described battle-scences and life in the army (cavalry), starting as a lowly Volunteers, progressing to officer - later surviving through the Crimea RCW.
I have the 1960 edition by Hutchinson. I was intrigued to read that the said prince volunteered as a soldier,
in the cavalry, and as such was expected to equip himself, with uniforms, field and dress, and his own horses and saddlery, and own batman. (Reviewed on the RCW Discussion list by Vera Beljakova)
- AIRCRAFT OF THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR is another great book which has been imported by Craig Martelle of Gauntlet publications. Hardcover, with Russian text (partial translation supplied by Craig), 99 numbered pages plus approximately 30 un-numbered pages of photos and drawings. It is mostly in black and white with several color plates and colored illustrations on front and back covers. An excellent value for the price!
- I will talk about two books: DIRECTIVES OF THE RED ARMY GHQ and DIRECTIVES OF THE RED ARMY FRONT COMMANDS. As you understand from the names, this books in fact are collection of operational and organizational orders, issued by GHQ and the Front
commands of the Red Army in the period 1918-1922. The former book is one volume, while the latter is a four-volume set. All five books are hardbacks, c.450 pages each, being published in Moscow in 1975-78.
The last volume of the "Directives of the Red Army Front Commands" is not just an index volume - it's full of
really excellent information, based on original archival data. Not simply re-published, but cross-checked by the editors. What's inside:
I think you will find this book useful. The problem is that it was published: a) in Russian, and b) in only 4500 copies, so it's
extremely rare book and you can probably find it only in libraries.
(Reviewed by Eugen Pinak - Kiev Ukraine )
- Red Army Strength
- Communists in Red Army
- Reserves of Red Army
- Material an technical supply of Red Army
- Strength of the enemy troops (according to contemporary Red Army
- Commanders of Red Army (names and time in command of all Commanders,
C-of-S and Commissars of all Red Army Fronts, Armies and Divisions)
- List of all Directives, for some reasons not included in all this
- List and index of _all_ Red Army units, mentioned in this volumes
- Index of the names
Here is a kind of a Group Review by Jack Radey: Some works are fiction, some non-fiction. "The following books are must have/must read, not just to balance all the White stuff on this list, but to get a better picture of some of the key fighting.
- PATH OF VALOR by Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny is first and foremost. His memoires take him from childhood through his early military experience, the revolution, and through much of the civil war, ending with the chasing of Deniken's army (remnants) back to the Caucasus foothills. The book covers the 1st Cavalry Army from its founding as it grows from squadron, to battalion, to regiment, to brigade, to division, to corps, to army. No one looks bad in their own memoires (Radey's First Law of Historical Research) but it is a good read and contains lots of fairly detailed descriptions of battles with numbers and some useful order of battle information.
- CHAPAYEV is another good book by Dmitri Furmanov.
- Serafimovich's THE IRON FLOOD (about Kovtyukh's Caucasus Division's retreat out of the Kuban)
- A few of the stories from THE OCTOBER STORM AND AFTER which has several Civil War stories.
- You should read THE DON FLOWS HOME TO THE SEA. AND QUIET FLOWS THE DON is the first of the series. The first two books take one Don Cossack family, and track them (and several dozen other people mostly from their village-it is a Russian novel!) through the First World War and Revolution in the first volume, and the second volume takes them through the Civil War. Most interesting is that the "hero" of the book is a White Cossack junior officer. The books won not only the Nobel Prize for literature, but also the Stalin Prize.
- The third and fourth volumes VIRGIN SOIL UPTURNED and HARVEST ON THE DON take a nearby Cossack village through the collectivization period. The hero here is an ex-sailor, ex-machinist, who is sent from Leningrad to lead the collectivization effort in a Cossack village. Did I mention that he is Jewish?! The author dosen't, although any Soviet citizen would immediately understand that from his name.
The books are not only well written, but will be a useful antidote for all the White propaganda you guys have read. You will get some idea of just why the Reds won, and why the majority of the people stood with them. You will also get some good insights into why a lot of Cossacks stood with the Whites, and the contradictions they faced. Strongly recommended.
- Finally you can add to your list another White tome, WHITE AGAINST RED by D.V.Lehovich, a biography of Denikin. Like most books, it is more about politics and personalities than about military operations."
ARMORED TRAINS OF THE SOVIET UNION 1917-1945, by Wilfried Kopenhagen, 1996 by Schiffer Publishing. If you like the RCW, or trains, or WWII on the eastern front, this is a nice booklet. It is paper-bound with 48 pages plus inside and outside covers and just filled with photos of armored trains and a few railway guns. The RCW part of the book is only about 8 pages, but they do contain photos that I had never seen before. I got mine through Amazon.com which only took 6 weeks to deliver it!
- THE DIGGERS WHO SIGNED ON FOR MORE, by Bruce Muirden, 1990 by Wakefield Press. ISBN 1 86254 260 0. Although originally retailing for about $13 (Australian) it is currently being 'remaindered' for $1.95 in several bookshops.
I must admit to ignorance on the subject of Australian involvement in the Russian Civil War. I knew that Australian signallers had worked with the Tsar's army in Persia against Turkey and that some did help the 'Whites' in that region. However the book in question covers far more than just Australia, in order to show why any Aussies were there at all. It deals with some of the operations of the Czech Legion, US, British, French, Japanese etc.in order to give a clearer picture. US and British operations are particularly important as it was with these that the Australians mostly served.
At such a price this little book is well worth searching out. Australian bookshops on the www probably have it. Even at the original price, this book was probably still well worth the money. There are some interesting photographs and several maps.
(Reviewed by Mal Wright, June 30, 2000).
THE ANGLO-AMERICAN WINTER WAR WITH RUSSIA 1918-1919. Subtitled A Diplomatic and Military Tragicomedy, Written by Benjamin D Rhodes, 1988. ISSN 0883-6884 ISBN 0-313-26132-6.
This covers the Anglo-American forces in and around Archangel upto the American withdrawal. It describes various actions by the American forces against the Bolshevks. There are some interesting photos of US and Russian troops. Quite reasonable from a wargames point of view! (This book reviewed by Alan Millicheap)
- FAREWELL TO THE DON is taken from the journals of Major (later Brigadier) H.N.H. Williamson who was a artillery officer sent as an observer/advisor to the Don cossack forces in south Russia. He arrived in 1919 and spent as much time as he could at the front. He was evacuated ill with typhus in March 1920 from Novorossiisk shortly before the Reds occupied it.This is an excellent book for a wargamer. Brigadier Williamson comments on uniforms, the Russians, the British, the French, the Greens, and everything else he saw. He witnesses (and takes part in) several small unit actions which are marvellously described. I got my copy of this book on BIBLIOFIND on the web for $6 plus postage. Again - Highly reccomended!
- GATCHINA DAYS is by Alexander Riaboff. A slender volume composed of alternating sections of his memoirs of the early Russian Imperial Air Service and flying for both the Reds and the Whites, and his diary which was the primary source of his memoirs. He writes well and the book is interesting but there are only a few passages of use to the war gamer.
- THE UNMAKING OF A RUSSIAN by Nicholas Wreden. (This book reviewed by Eric Burgess)
"I just picked up the book named above, which is about a young Russian naval officer's experience during the Russian Civil War. He served with the WHITES, fighting on the North-West front near Petrograd. He was a gunnery observer for an "armored" train called the ADMIRAL KOLCHAK, and was later with a tank unit. About half the book is on the revolution, and half on the Civil War".
- RUSSIA, MY NATIVE LAND. (Book reviewed by Eric Burgess)
I found another RCW book about the author's experiences during WWI, the Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. The author is Gregory P. Tschebotarioff. He joined the Don Cossacks Guard Battery at 16 years old in 1917. (third lieutenant) He has witnessed some great events. His parents were well to do and his mother even worked with the Czarina at a hospital.
- TANKS OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION (ARMADA 14) Magazine format, 56 pages, over 200 photos and line drawings. In Russian & English (with additional translation of key points provided, too). Imported by Gauntlet Publications. A terrific book, similar to the Squadron/Signal "In Action" series.
- RED VICTORY, W. Bruce Lincoln. Simon and Schuster, 1989. If you are going to read one book about the Russian Civil War, it should be this one. It has been available in hardcover and the paperback is currently in print. A comprehensive work with some photos and maps.
I Suggest "Red Victory" by W. Bruce Lincoln, and "Civil War in South Russia"
by Kenez (University of California Press) as two vaguely objective views... I tend to feel a Pro Bolshevik view would be more objective, but harder to come by in English. In general, read all sources with a pood of salt (That is about 30 lbs.). A note by Jack Radey on the RCW discussion list at Yahoo Groups concerning "Red Victory" above and "The Civil War in South Russia" below.
- THE DAY WE ALMOST BOMBED MOSCOW, Christopher Dobson and John Miller. Hodder and Stoughton, 1986. In spite of the title, this is not about the cold war. It is a very readable account of the allied intervention in the RCW. It is easy to read, and moved right off my bookshelf while more scholarly tomes are still sitting ....waiting.
- PASSAGE THROUGH ARMAGEDDON: The Russians in War and Revolution 1914-1918. W. Bruce Lincoln. Simon & Schuster, 1986. Eric Teuber reccomends this highly. He says it is an outstanding account of World War One and the Revolution, but not really the RCW.
- THE WHITE GENERALS, Richard Luckett, Viking Press, 1971. Told mainly from the white side. Somewhat shorter than W. Bruce Lincoln's book above, still good. Easy to read and of course, told completely from the anti-Bolshevik side.
"Tom" on the RCW discussion group wrote that" "White Generals" by Luckett is a nice White view of the war. It is very pro-white to the point that you wonder how they lost. It will give you a good idea of all the Fronts and players in this vast war."
- WHITE ARMIES OF RUSSIA, George Stewart. 1933. (This book reviewed by Eric Burgess) This is an excellent book of the conflict and has the BEST campaign maps I've ever seen of the war. The section on the Czech legion is awesome with great descriptions of battles and leaders. I find that this book complements THE WHITE GENERALS book (above) perfectly. They both have information that the other doesn't.
- CIVIL WAR IN SOUTH RUSSIAN,1918 by Peter Kenez. University of California, 1971. Good!
- CIVIL WAR IN SOUTH RUSSIAN,1919-1920 by Peter Kenez. University of California, 1974. Also good, but takes the side of Denikin as oposed to Wrangel. Most writers on this period think that General Wrangel was a more effective military leader than Deniken, his superior.
- FIGHTING THE BOLSHEVIKS, Donald E. Carey, Presidio Press 1997 Set in north Russia, gives point of view of an enlisted man. Cary was with the U.S. 339th Infantry. He hated Russia, Russians and the British! The book give some idea of the conditions that small US units (Platoons and companies) faced on the Murmansk front. Not an overall history - good for impressions about weapons effectiveness.
- RUSSIAN HUSSAR, Vladimir Litauer 1993, Memoir of a cavalry officer. Lots of good stuff about fighting the Germans in Poland and Russia, 1914-17. Nice small and medium-level batle descriptions, but he was never really involved in the Civil War.
- THE MIDNIGHT WAR-American Intervention in Russia, Richard Goldhurst, McGraw-Hill, 1978. More about Siberia than north Russia.
- IGNORANT ARMIES (The American intervention in North Russia) E.M. Halliday. This is very good for small unit actions involving the 339th U.S. Infantry Regiment. Several good scenarios for the gamer! This has been reprinted in 2000 without the maps and illustrations as WHEN HELL FROZE OVER.
- AMERICAN INTERVENTION IN THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR - This is a reader of documents and short essays on the American intervention in Siberia. The reasons behind the intervention are discussed far more than the act itself. I got my copy for $5. I do not consider it worth that. Not of use for wargaming.
- A RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR DIARY -Alexis Babine in Saratov. Memoir of a civilian. Full of the rumors that a man might hear during the revolution and civil war. Little of use to the gamer.
- PHILIP MIRONOV AND THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR. Sergei Starikov and Roy Medvedev, Alfred A. Knopf 1978. Attempt at a biography and political renovation of the Red commander of the 2nd Cavalry Army who was murdered in 1923 while awaiting trial for treason. Little of use to gamers.
- OUR MAN IN THE CRIMEA -Commander Hugo Koehler and the Russian Civil War. P.J. Capelotti, South Carolina University Press, 1991. Biography and diary of an American Naval officer, who was an observer in the Crimean Peninsula. Koehler did not like Russia and thought the whites would lose. He hated the Bolsheviks too! Atmosphere, but not much else of use to gamers.
- BLOOD ON THE SNOW -Eywitness accounts of the Russian revolution. Elisabeth Heresch, Paragon House, 1990. Useful for atmosphere. Only partially about the civil war.
- TREASURE OF THE WHITE ARMY. Nicholas Svidine. Little Brown and co. 1975. The author was a cossack fighting for the whites. The first part of the book, concerning his service in Russia is of some interest to the gamer. The second part, concerning his life after he fled Russia is part adventure story and part apology and excuses on his part.
- GENERAL WRANGEL. Alexis Wrangel, Hippocrene Books, 1987. A Biography of the Russian officer who was the last commander of the White forces in south Russia by his son. Based on family legends and letters. Some interesting stories.
- THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. Alan Moorehead, Harper & Brothers 1958. As background to what happened before the civil war, I found this useful and the writing was easy to read. I have read that this is not the best work on the revolution, but I got my copy for 25 cents and it taught me what I needed to know.
- SEIZE AND HOLD, Bryan Perrett, Arms and Armour Press, 1995. This has an interesting chapter (chapter 3 as a matter of fact) entitled "Polish Eagle and Russian Bear" which concerns armored car operations in 1920 during the Russo-Polish war. Quite pithy!
- THE WORLD WAR ONE SOURCE BOOK. Philip J. Haythornthwaite, Arms and Armour Press, 1992. While not a history, this is excellent for counting the nuts and bolts of organizations, weapons, and who was who in the Great War. It includes hundreds (thousands?)of short articles on all major battles or topics of interest. I keep it to hand, so I can look up places and names. Not as much on Russia as on the Western powers, but enough to be very useful.
- A RUSSIAN DANCE OF DEATH. Dietrich Neufeld, translated by Al Reimer. Chronicles the destruction of the mennonite settlements in the Ukraine by the Anarchists under Mahkno, the Red Army, and their neighboring ethnic Russian peasants. A good description of what happens when law and order ceases to be provided by a central government. Very graphic and sad, but little that is usable for the gamer.