This article is the first examination of memoirs written by former members of the RussianProvisional Government (RPG) 1917. It is argued that despite difficulties in comparison,when viewed collectively the memoirists can be divided into ‘optimists’ and ‘pessimists.’Moreover, the issues over which the memoirists disagree, which include legitimacy, personality, policy, periodisation, and coalition, challenge existing writing on 1917. Current textbooks seek to explain October and not the RPG. The memoirists help us to address thisimbalance. Finally, the ‘optimist’ case suggests the need for a historiographical shiftaway from dominant negative assessments of the RPG to a more positive appreciation ofits accomplishments.