The final decade of the old order in imperial Russia was a time of both crisis and possibility, an uncertain time that inspired an often desperate search for meaning. This book explores how journalists and other writers in St. Petersburg described and interpreted the troubled years between the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Mark Steinberg, distinguished historian of Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, examines the work of writers of all kinds, from anonymous journalists to well-known public intellectuals, from secular liberals to religious conservatives. Though diverse in their perspectives, these urban writers were remarkably consistent in the worries they expressed. They grappled with the impact of technological and material progress on the one hand, and with an ever-deepening anxiety and pessimism on the other. Steinberg reveals a new, darker perspective on the history of St. Petersburg on the eve of revolution and presents a fresh view of Russia's experience of modernity.