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‘Chillingly original’ Max Hastings

‘Brilliantly depicts a disastrous failure’ Antony Beevor

‘Witty and elegant . . . Excellent background to today’s events’ Anne Applebaum

‘Britain’s most forgotten war, brilliantly remembered’ Simon Jenkins

‘Vivid and remarkably timely’ Martin Sixsmith

From the bestselling author of Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine

The extraordinary story of the West’s intervention into the Russian Civil War

In the closing months of the First World War, Britain, America, France and Japan sent 180,000 soldiers to revolutionary Russia, in a doomed attempt to unseat the Bolsheviks. Entangled in what they termed a ‘comic opera’ conflict, they crisscrossed the shattered empire in sleds, trains and paddlesteamers, bivouacked in log cabins and felt yurts, torpedoed warships from speedboats, improvised the world’s first air-dropped chemical weapons, and organised several coups and at least one assassination. Cheered on by Churchill, they also turned a blind eye to their Russian allies’ many atrocities.

Two years later, as the Red Army swept the board, the West evacuated, leaving Russia more blood-stained and suspicious than ever. A Nasty Little War brings this forgotten misadventure vividly to life.


London Review of Books
Unusually entertaining
Financial Times
Thoroughly researched, stylish and entertaining
Antony Beevor
Reid brilliantly depicts the disastrous failure of our intervention in the "Russian" civil war. The atmosphere, the characters, the absurdity are all there
Anne Applebaum
In witty, elegant prose, Anna Reid uncovers the true story of the West's failed and forgotten attempt to reverse the Bolshevik revolution. Excellent background to today's events
Simon Jenkins
Britain's most forgotten war, brilliantly remembered
The Observer
Reid brings this little-known period thrillingly back to life . . . A vivid and sparkling account, full of colour and dark drama
Max Hastings, 'Pick of the Week', The Times
Chillingly original
BBC History Magazine, Books of the Year
Elegantly written, and drawing on extensive archival research . . . This remarkable book is simultaneously comic and horrifying