Steven Miner's review of Richard Pipes's "The Russian Revolution" {Book World, Oct. 21} was misleading in its enthusiasm to the point of irresponsibility.

Without question and without criticism, Miner presented Pipes and his views as wholly representative of sound scholarship in the field of Russian studies today. He brushed aside opponents of Pipes's theories as an extremist minority of uninformed Communist-sympathizing pro-Stalinist crackpots.

In reality, Pipes clings to the 1950s McCarthyism, which saw all Communist regimes, as well as all totalitarian regimes, as identical and without any distinguishing cultural or historical characteristics.

During the past 25 years, this view has been demolished by acclaimed historians and political scientists like Robert C. Tucker, Stephen F. Cohen, Moshe Lewin, Roy A. Medvedev and Robert Conquest. These scholars have convincingly argued that Stalinism was a phenomenon divorced from Leninism, Marxism or even Bolshevism.

The Pipes dictum that "revolutions are made" while "rebellions happen" is likewise open to question. He blames both the revolt against the czarist regime in February of 1917 and then the Kerensky regime in October of the same year on intellectuals who had no patience to wait for reforms. But that argument ignores evidence that the church, military, politicians, peasants, middle class and workers all withdrew their support in both cases from the ruling power.

The February Revolution was a spontaneous outpouring of public wrath. It did not involve Bolshevik leadership (or any leadership), although it did correspond with palace coup plans by politicians who became the provisional government. Clearly this was a revolution that did "happen."

While the October Revolution was a seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, thus being a revolution that was "made," it only became possible through withdrawal of support for the Kerensky regime. Compelling proof of this is the absence of public sentiment for either the return of the Romanovs or of Kerensky throughout the civil war period. It was precisely this lack of a viable political alternative to the Bolsheviks that ultimately caused the defeat of the White military movement.

Miner's review should have made it clear that contrary to being representative of current scholarship in the field of Russian studies, the views of Pipes are in fact questioned by a large body of respected scholars.

Eric N. Danielson

The writer is a graduate student in Russian history.