Smithsonian Russian Revolution Series: April 1917: The Provisional Government

Prince Georgy Lvov, 1st Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government in 1917

The April 1917 article in my monthly Smithsonian Russian Revolution series examines the struggles faced by the new Provisional Government after Czar Nicholas II abdicated. The new Prime Minister, Prince Georgy Lvov, a Russian nobleman, found himself politically isolated and unable to reconcile the competing demands of conservative and socialist political factions.

The rising star in Lvov’s government was Alexander Kerensky, Minister of Justice, whose first order of business was investigating former Czar Nicholas II. When Lvov’s government faced protests because of its determination to fulfill Czarist diplomatic and military obligations including Russia’s participation in the First World War, Kerensky orchestrated a coalition government with socialist parties and became Minister of War, events that became known as the April Crisis. Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party, however, remained in opposition to this government, demanding an immediate end to hostilities on the eastern front.

Click here to read “In a Czar-less Russia, Winning was Easy. Governing was Harder” in Smithsonian Magazine

Click here to read my entire Russian Revolution series (so far) in Smithsonian Magazine

Sources and Further Reading:

The quote at the beginning of the article is from Leo Tolstoy’s celebrated novel, Anna Karenina. Tolstoy and Lvov had been neighbours and shared a common disdain for the ostentatious lifestyle expected of members of the Czarist nobility before the Russian Revolution.

Lvov’s early life and career are discussed in detail in Orlando Figes’ history of the Russian Revolution, A People’s Tragedy. The book also discusses the difficult position faced by the Provisional Government in the Spring of 1917.

Accounts of celebrations of the establishment of the Provisional Government across Russia are included in War and Revolution in Russia 1914-1922 by Christopher Read.

Documents related to the Provisional Government’s arrest and investigation of the former Imperial family are translated and reprinted in The Fall of the Romanovs, a collection of primary sources about the Romanovs during and after the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

The memoirs of Alexander Kerensky have recently been reprinted in e-book form as The Catastrophe: Kerensky’s Own Story of the Russian Revolution

Lenin’s return to Russia is the subject of a recent book, Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale, author of Red Fortress, a history of Moscow’s Kremlin. Lenin’s writings and speeches are also available online.

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Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting now available for purchase

My 3rd book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, has been published by Dundurn Press in Canada. (The USA and UK release date is May 2).

Click here to purchase your copy of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

How royal parents dealt with raising their children over the past thousand years, from keeping Vikings at bay to fending off paparazzi.

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are setting trends for millions of parents around the world. The upbringing of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, is the focus of intense popular scrutiny. Royalty have always raised their children in the public eye and attracted praise or criticism according to parenting standards of their day.

Royal parents have faced unique challenges and held unique privileges. In medieval times, raising an heir often meant raising a rival, and monarchs sometimes faced their grown children on the battlefield. Conversely, kings and queens who lost their thrones in wars or popular revolutions often found solace in time spent with their children. In modern times, royal duties and overseas tours have often separated young princes and princesses from their parents, a circumstance that is slowly changing with the current generation of royalty.

Click here to purchase your copy of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

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Review of Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe in the Canadian Journal of History

My 2nd book Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette has been reviewed by historian Sharon Jansen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of the Canadian Journal of History. Jansen describes the book as “An excellent example of careful archival scholarship and thoughtful gender analysis.”

Click here to read the review in the Canadian Journal of History

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Open History Interview: Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting

I discussed the research and writing of my latest book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, with Open History. The interview includes how the book came together, why I decided to write about the history of royal parenting and the impact of the history of royal parenting on modern Canadian culture.

Click here to read “Open History – Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting”

Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting is currently for sale in Chapters/Indigo bookstores and will be available across Canada on April 8. The USA/UK publication date is May 2.

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Ben McNally Books/Globe & Mail Books and Brunch on April 9

I will be speaking about my latest book Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting at the Ben McNally Books/Globe & Mail Books and Brunch on April 9 at the King Edward hotel in Toronto. Tickets are $55 and must be purchased in advance. Book sale and signing to follow.  Click here for more information

Click here to pre-order my book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting 

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Updated Canadian Encyclopedia Articles about The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive in Canada

I have updated my Canadian Encyclopedia articles about William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to include the 2016 royal tour of British Columbia and Yukon.

Click here to read my article about Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Click here to read my article about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

I discuss Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte in my forthcoming book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, which will be published in Canada on April 8 and the USA and UK on May 2.

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Smithsonian Russian Revolution Series: Russia’s February Revolution Was Led by Women on the March

Skobelev Square during the February Revolution by Aleksandr Gerasimov, 1917

My latest article in my monthly Russian Revolution series in Smithsonian Magazine is about the February Revolution, which precipitated the downfall of the Romanov dynasty. Women played a key role in this political unrest.

“In the country’s urban centers, with men on the battlefield, women took on new roles in the workforce, as they did throughout Europe during the war. Between 1914 and 1917, 250,000 more women began working outside the home for the first time. By the outbreak of the February Revolution, close to one million female workers lived in Russia’s cities, but were paid half the wages of men and endured substandard living conditions. The journalist Ariadna Tyrkova wrote, “Day by day, the war has changed attitudes about woman. It has become increasingly clear that the unseen effort of a woman and her labour often support the entire economy of a country.””

Click here to read “Russia’s February Revolution Was Led by Women on the March” in Smithsonian Magazine 

Click here to read all my articles in the Smithsonian Magazine Russian Revolution series. 

Sources and Further Reading:

The quotation at the beginning of the article is from The Lower Depths, a play written by Maxim Gorky in 1901-1902, which became especially popular following the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

The letter to King George V from Czar Nicholas II quoted in the article is reprinted in A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story. For more information about the relationship between King George V, Czar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II during the First World War, see George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter.

Czar Nicholas II’s abdication manifesto, the telegrams from the Czar’s generals requesting his abdication, correspondence between Nicholas and Alexandra in February and March 1917 and documents concerning the Provisional Government’s assumption of power are available in The Fall of the Romanovs: Political Dreams and Personal Struggles in a Time of Revolution (Annals of Communism Series)

The description of women persuading the workers at the Nobel Engineering works to go on strike is reprinted in Women in Russia, 1700-2000 by Barbara Alpern Engel, p. 134.
Excerpts from the writings of journalist Ariadna Tyrkova are available to read in Russian Women, 1698-1917: Experience and Expression, An Anthology of Sources

An excellent book about Russian women’s lives prior to the Russian Revolutions of 1917 including legal status, political influence, fashion and daily life is Women in Russian History: From the Tenth to the Twentieth Century by Natalia Pushkareva

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New Review of Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe in the Royal Stuart Journal

My 2nd book Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette (Queenship and Power series) has received a detailed and thoughtful review in the most recent issue of the Royal Stuart Journal  from Dr. Sara Wolfson, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University and an expert on Queen Henrietta Maria.

Click here to read the review in the Royal Stuart Journal 7 (2016) (1)

Click here to purchase Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette (Queenship and Power series) on Amazon

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Today Interview: Queen Elizabeth makes history with 65 years on the throne

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. June 2, 1953

February 6, 2017 is Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee. The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a 65 year reign though there have been longer reigns elsewhere in the world. (King Louis XIV of France reigned for 72 years, the longest reign in European history so far). As I discussed with Eun Kim at Today, the Queen plans to mark this historic date quietly as it is also the anniversary of her father King George VI’s death.

Click here to read Queen Elizabeth II Makes History with 65 Years on the Throne

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