When discussing the peasants of the old Russia in his writings, Orlando Figes never failed to highlight the fact that the agrarian revolution that took place in 1917 and which lasted for a year was brought on by the peasants alone. Figes was able to provide sufficient data to prove that the peasants were not under the influence of the Bolksheviks, the Provisional Government or any other group for that matter before they started the said revolution. Figes uses historical data to show that rural peasants may have been pushed to stage a revolution when their roles in society were continuously being taken by the more literate peasants from the city as well as migrant townsmen and finally, war veterans. All in all, the accounts Figes had about the old days of Russia’s peasant population were so fascinating and educational that it prompted Peter Kenez to describe Figes’ book as one of the most substantial works regarding the Russian Revolution.
In the course of researching for his first book, Orlando Figes had become a Research Fellow in one of Cambridge’s colleges. In 1987, he was further promoted to become a University Lecturer in the school’s history department and which he held on to until the late 1990’s. During his tenure in his alma mater, he was able to educate the likes of Tristam Hunt, Times editor James Harding, Andrew Roberts, and filmmaker Tanya Seghatchian.
Prior to being elected Chair of History in London University, he was also able to publish another book aside from Peasant Russia, Civil War. This was entitled A People’s Tragedy, the Russian Revolution. Russia is one of the countries in the world that has been continuously ravaged war and Figes’ second book exquisitely portrayed the painful truth of this situation. His second book this time talked about the very start of the revolution, which is believed to have been started in 1891 and when citizens were literally dying out of hunger. The resentment only continues to grow when Lenin passed away in 1924. The way the history of Russia was written was anything but boring and the data found in his book was incredible in its research and accuracy. This eventually lead Figes to win several wards, which include the LA Times Book Prize, the History Today Book of the Year, and many others. The book was, however, simply dedicated to his wife and two daughters, twins Alice and Lydia.
The third book of Orlando Figes is also about the Russian Revolution but this time co-written with another well-known writer Boris Kolonitskii. The duo proposed that just about every tool was used to keep revolutionary crowds rowdy but respectful toward his priest. Like Figes’ second book, the third one also reaped rewards left and right.