The last great untold story of the Russian Revolution

Former People by Douglas Smith - Buy Now

The story of how a centuries'-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the empire, its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of tsarist Russia.

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“A passionate and vivid story of the destruction of an entire class—the Russian aristocracy” ~Michael Ignatieff, author of
The Russian Album
“A fascinating window onto a lost generation. Filled with intimate detail, drama, and pathos” ~Amanda Foreman, author of
A World on Fire: an Epic History of Two Nations Divided
“Absolutely gripping, brilliantly researched” ~Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem “A tour de force” ~Robert Service, author of
Trotsky: A Biography
“A brilliant account” ~The Evening Standard “A gripping saga” ~Maclean's “Grimly fascinating” ~The Seattle Times “An engaging and absorbing book” ~The Wall Street Journal “A remarkable, deeply affecting book” ~The Dallas News “A chronicle of suffering, persecution and murder ... The author has done well to tell this tale” ~The Sunday Times of London “Fascinating” ~Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) “Compelling” ~Kirkus (Starred Review) “Superbly written and emotionally wrenching” ~Booklist

other Books by Douglas Smith

Working the Rough Stone

Freemasonry and Society in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Part of the process of Westernization begun by Peter the Great, Freemasonry flourished in Russia throughout the second half of the eighteenth century when thousands of brothers attended a large network of lodges extending from St. Petersburg to Siberia. Read More.

The Pearl

A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great’s Russia

Filled with a remarkable cast of characters and set against the backdrop of imperial Russia, this tale of forbidden romance could be the stuff of a great historical novel. But in fact The Pearl tells a true tale, reconstructed in part from archival documents that have lain untouched for centuries. Read More.

Love & Conquest

Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin

Of all the great imperial romances in European history, few can compare with that of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin. Their turbulent and complicated relationship shocked their contemporaries and continues to intrigue observers of Russia centuries later. Read More.

about the author

Douglas Smith is an award-winning historian and translator. He lives with his family in Seattle.