The People's Train by Thomas Keneally

About the book

After a long, dangerous escape from Tsarist Russia, Artem Samsurov might have reached sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, but that doesn’t stop him trying to create a socialist paradise with his fellow emigres and workmates. And despite getting entangled with an attractive female lawyer, then charged with the murder of an informer, he never loses hope that one day the revolution will come. But when he returns to Russia in 1917 to fight alongside his comrades, he cannot know whether it will succeed, or at what cost.

Reviewed by The Benches Reading Group

The novel was quite hard work according to some of us. However, the pace increased in the second half – perhaps due to the fact that we could relate more to the events in Russia during the revolutionary era compared to activities in Queensland, Australia pre-1917. We were divided as to whether the novel was well written – in need of a sequel! Historically interesting, written as events unfolded, therefore only passing mention of figures such as Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin (who were, unbeknown to the narrator, to play a large part during the political upheaval).

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1 thought on “The People's Train by Thomas Keneally”

  1. Reviewed by Museum Book Group
    Part One – The history of the early 20th century Australian socialism was very interesting. The characters did not really come alive and it was difficult to identify with them. Part Two – was in journal form and made the Russian Revolution very real. The organisation and characters were believable. Heroism and bravery were counterbalanced by the worst of human behaviour. We all found this a very hard read. It is very scholarly and well written. We all found we had to discipline ourselves to finish it.
    Star rating *


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