audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ The Red Wheel: Node III, Book 1
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The Red Wheel is Solzhenitsyn's magnum opus about the Russian Revolution. Solzhenitsyn tells this story in the form of a meticulously researched historical novel, supplemented by newspaper headlines of the day, fragments of street action, cinematic screenplay, and historical overview. The first two nodes-August 1914 and November 1916-focus on Russia's crises and recovery, on revolutionary terrorism and its suppression, on the missed opportunity of Pyotr Stolypin's reforms, and how the surge of patriotism in August 1914 soured as Russia bled in World War I. March 1917-the third node-tells the story of the Russian Revolution itself, during which not only does the Imperial government melt in the face of the mob, but the leaders of the opposition prove utterly incapable of controlling the course of events. The absorbing narrative tells the stories of more than fifty characters during the days when the Russian Empire begins to crumble. The anti-Tsarist bourgeois opposition, horrified by the violence, scrambles to declare that it is provisionally taking power, while socialists immediately create a Soviet alternative to undermine it. In much the same way as Homer's Iliad became the representative account of the Greek world and therefore the basis for Greek civilization, these historical epics perform a parallel role for our modern world.