RUSSIAN ROULETTE

RUSSIAN ROULETTE                              GILES MILTON
Posted:  April 28, 2014

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

HUBBY'S REVIEW:
This book is the beginnings of the spy network of Britain that became to be known as MI6. The State or local one is MI5. Mansfield George Smith Cumming was chosen to be the man in charge. He was a Navy Officer who had to retire from active service and was selected by Re Admiral Alexander Belthell who was in charge of naval intelligence. On August 10, 1909 the government decided to establish a foreign and domestic secret service with two separate but connected divisions. The foreign would be charged with gathering military, political and technical intelligence from overseas. To also recruit, train and send them into foreign countries to report any threat that country might pose. He was able to get the network going for the start of WWI and by the time of 1917 there were agents already in Russia with knowledge of an uprising called the Bolsheviks revolution. One of the main spies was a man by the name of Riley. He would later be known as Riley “the ace of spies “. He had already told them months before when it looked like Lennin was going to be in power. He was told to do nothing. The right hand man for Lennin was named Dzerzhinsky, he was a very ruthless man. Then on July 17, 1918 one of the most hideous events happened in the revolution, the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and all of his children were killed. The Bolshevik press tried to make the killings justified. It should be noted that Lennin was exiled and when he was being brought back into Russia Riley and his team of spies tried to do things to hold up his entry but was finally told to let him pass. This really was the beginning of the end of Russia and all of the countries around it. For after a few months papers were taken and sent to England stating how Lennin wanted total world domination but no one would listen. He first started in India and then central Asia. The India one fell apart by another group of spies from Britain but this would become a lifelong fight for many. Over the years they gathered how many people died or just disappeared. Most of this information was not made public. By the time Stalin came into power there was already a mole inside his office but Riley had to leave for there was a price on his head. In the late 20s Riley went back to Russia helping to get out some of the people that had worked for him. The only one he could not save was himself. This book offers a lot of history of both England and Russia, and takes you up to the rumbles of a new problem in Germany. The same fight Russia has today with Georgia, they were having back in 1918 and 1919. Fighting and trying to force people to follow them that don’t want it. I thought it interesting also that Churchill is mentioned a few times saying that communism is evil but was right there shaking hands with Stalin in WWII. Overall this is a very good book with a lot of information and the author gives the men and women who no one knew about their place in history for the sacrifices that they made. I got this book from net galley.

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