Ranked by the Russians themselves as the leading contemporary writer in the Soviet Union, some sixteen million seven hundred and nine thousand copies of his two-volume novel, The Silent Don, having been published since 1925, Mikhail Sholokhov is represented by a chapter, "Civil War," from the first volume And Quiet Flows the Don. Not concerned with the chief characters in the book, this unit deals with the return to his Don River village of the soldier Bunchuk at a time when Kerensky is momentarily in power in Petrograd and civil war has been unleashed between the Red Guards and the counter-revolutionists.
THE TOWN of Novocherkassk became the centre of attraction for all who had fled from the Bolshevik Revolution. Important generals who formerly had been arbiters of the destiny of the Russian armies poured down into the lower regions of the Don, hoping to find support for their activities among the reactionary Don Cossacks and to develop an offensive against Sovietized Russia. On November 15 General Alexeev arrived in the town. After talks with Kaledin he set to work to organize volunteer detachments. The backbone of the future Volunteer Army was provided by officers, Junkers, and others who had fled from the north. Within three weeks an unwholesome flesh had grown around this framework, consisting of students, soldiers, the most active of the counter-revolutionary Cossacks, and men seeking adventure and higher pay even in Kerensky rubles.
At the beginning of December more generals arrived, and on December 19 Kornilov himself appeared in the town. By this time Kaledin had succeeded in withdrawing almost all the Cossack regiments from the Rumanian and Austro-German fronts and had distributed them along the main railway lines of the Don province. But the Cossacks, wearied with three years of war and returning from