About this book we are told:
As the vast empire of Imperial Russia struggled with the emancipation of the serfs after 1861 and creeped inexorably towards revolution, Leo Tolstoy underwent what he termed a 'spiritual awakening'. Advocating an extreme internationalism and the principles of non-violence, Tolstoy inspired a legion of followers who formed thousands of cooperatives and collective farms across Russia and Europe. These disciples had a major impact: in revolutionary Russia, these 'Tolstoyans' were seen as a threat to the Bolsheviks, and Lenin singled them out for repression. Decades later, Mahatma Gandhi would cite the movement as an inspiration for his campaign of peaceful resistance against the British Empire. Here, Charlotte Alston provides the first in-depth historical account of this remarkable phenomenon and its impact on European and Russian history, providing an important re-assessment of Tolstoy's impact on the political history of the modern world.