This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the stories of eight Russian women whose lives have spanned the twentieth century—an era of tremendous social and political turmoil and change. Women found work outside the home and gained access to education and professional training, taking pride in these accomplishments. The Bolsheviks’ vision of social transformation also included the emancipation of women. In 1918, the Bolshevik government promulgated a family code that was aimed at paving the way toward women’s emancipation. Armed challenges to the Bolsheviks were supported by money and troops from Russia’s former wartime allies, Great Britain, the United States, and France. The Bolsheviks brought with them an agenda for far-reaching social and economic change, drawn from their readings of Karl Marx and other socialist thinkers. They viewed the Russian revolution as the first socialist revolution in the world.