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Alexander II
Edvard Radzinsky
074327332X
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
It's difficult to reform Russia, as popular historian Radzinsky shows in this lively examination of the czar best known for emancipating the serfs in 1861. Viewed as the most liberal of Russia's 19th-century czars, Alexander II (1818–1881) came to power in 1856 with the idea of bringing Russia into the modern age. But as Radzinsky (The Last Tsar) shows, his liberal reforms brought him nothing but trouble. Alexander came under attack from the right for being too liberal, and the left for not going far enough. He also had to curtail his reforms when faced with the need to fight foreign enemies. Radzinsky focuses much of the latter half of the book on the rise of left-wing populist movements—the book covers in depth the intellectual currents that swirled around Russia during Alexander's reign. Some...


The Russian Revolution: 1917-1918 (History SparkNotes)
SparkNotes Editors
1411404300
July 2005
Paperback
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The World Was Going Our Way
Christopher Andrew
0465003117
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
This second volume of the post-war history of the KGB-based on the "Mitrokhin Archive" of secret documents purloined by the late co-author, a KGB dissident-surveys the Soviet spy agency's skullduggery in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Historian Andrew portrays Russian policy toward the Third World as largely the creation of the KGB, which hoped that the spread of Soviet influence and revolutionary upheavals would make these regions the decisive Cold War battleground. The Cuban Revolution inspired these ambitions, and by 1980, after the American defeat in Vietnam and with leftist regimes installed in Nicaragua and Grenada, Cuban troops fighting in Africa and Russian forces occupying Afghanistan, both American and Soviet officials saw communism on the march. Still, in Andrew's account, Soviet initiatives-with a...


Land of the Firebird
Suzanne Massie, Suzanne Massie
096441841X

Paperback
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Czars: Russia's Rulers for Over One Thousand Years
James P. Duffy
0760726736
February 2002
Hardcover
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June 1941 : Hitler and Stalin
John Lukacs
0300114370
April 28, 2006
Hardcover
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Review
Henry Kissinger : "John Lukacs's June 1941: Hitler and Stalin is one of the fullest and most authoritative portraits of the ambiguous relationship between the two powerful and wily adversaries during World War II's watershed year. Drawing on newly available source material from the diaries, personal papers and post-war interviews of senior staff members close to each, it is a fascinating and masterfully researched book."-Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger : "A fascinating and masterfully researched book."-Henry Kissinger
Simon Sebag Montefiore :  "John Lukacs's latest work, June 1941, showcases the worldliness, strategic wisdom and superb eye for the personal detail that has made him one of our most experienced, readable and sophisticated historians of the WW2 era."-Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of...


History of Russia
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky
0195153944
December 2004
Textbook Paperback
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Book Description
Now completely revised in this seventh edition, A History of Russia covers the entire span of the country's history, from ancient times to the postcommunist present. Featuring a new coauthor, Mark Steinberg, this edition offers extensively updated material based on the most current research,
including documents from recently opened archives. Keeping with the hallmark of the text, Riasanovsky and Steinberg examine all aspects of Russia's history--political, international, military, economic, social, and cultural--with a commitment to objectivity, fairness, and balance. This seventh
edition contains a wealth of new images and a fully revised bibliography and reading list. Two new chapters on politics, society, and culture since 1991 explore Russia's complex experience after communism and discuss its chances of...


The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
0060007761
Feb 2002
Paperback
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Book Description

Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression -- the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully.

Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims -- men, women, and children -- we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 -- a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle -- has now been updated with a...



The Court of the Last Tsar : Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II
Greg King
0471727636
March 24, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
This high-end coffee-table book offers a comprehensive look at the lifestyles of the late-czarist rich and famous. King (The Fate of the Romanovs) includes chapters on major czarist institutions like the Russian Orthodox Church, but this is not his main interest; instead, he focuses on imperial ceremonies, palaces and the fashions of Nicholas's court, as well as sexual scandals involving members of the Romanov family. King has a vast knowledge of the subject, and those who are fascinated by the life of the royals and aristocratic intrigue will find much to delight in; for instance, his description of czarist royal jewelry and the magnificence of Russian balls, even as the regime was soon to crumble, adds to our understanding of how myopic the regime was. The photographs, both color and b&w, add to the book's...


Stalin
Robert Service
0674016971
Mar 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Here is a life-and-times biography in the grand style: deeply researched, well written, brimming with interpretations. Oxford historian Service, author of an acclaimed biography of Lenin, provides the most complete portrait available of the Soviet ruler, from his early, troubled years in a small town in Georgia to the pinnacle of power in the Kremlin. Most previous biographers have depicted Stalin as a plodding figure whose only distinguishing characteristic was brutality. But Service describes a man who was intelligent and hardworking, who learned from experience and who played an important role in the Russian revolutionary movement. On so many of the complex issues of Soviet history—including Stalin's rise to power within the Communist Party, the policy shift to forced collectivization,...


The Royal Diaries: Catherine, The Great Journey, Russia, 1743
Kristiana Gregory
0439253853
December 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7 This novel is written from the viewpoint of Princess Sophie Augusta Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst, who later became Catherine the Great. The diary opens with an entry dated August 7, 1743, when Sophie is 14. Her mother obsesses over marrying her into a prestigious family. When the studious and rather plain-looking teen has an opportunity to marry Peter, Grand Duke of Russia, she must face the scrutiny of critical Empress Elizabeth. In her diary, Sophie talks about her home situation and recounts the hardships of travel to Russia, her efforts to please the empress, and her engagement. Gregory's strong characterizations bring the historically grounded figures to life. Events convey the difficulties of Russian life during 1743-1745. At first slow moving, the plot picks up speed when Sophie meets the...


The People's Act of Love
James Meek
1841957305
January 9, 2006
Hardcover
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Book Review
James Meek has won several awards for his journalism and his fiction, but The People's Act Of Love is a singular departure from all that came before. It is a big Russian novel, written in English. Meek has upped the ante on such books as Cold Mountain and The March in bringing the reader his version of the unspeakable horror and brutality of war, the colder-than-cold winter, the cruelty and humanity of people in extremis.

It is 1919 in Yazyk, Siberia, far from anywhere. The war is waning, but its ravages remain. There is an uneasy detente between a group of Czech soldiers, marooned on the losing side and longing to go home, and a fanatical Christian sect that practices castration as a means of purifying themselves. One of their number is their leader, Balashov, married to a beautiful and...



The Hitler Book
Henrik Eberle
1586483668
Nov 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Even after Hitler's death, Stalin remained so intrigued by his nemesis that he commissioned a top-secret dossier detailing every aspect of the late dictator's private life, political behavior and personality. The result—File No. 462a, now known as The Hitler Book—was discovered hidden in the Soviet archives just two years ago by Uhl, of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and Berlin, who presents it with Eberle, a historian at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. Much of its material was extracted, not entirely voluntarily, from two of Hitler's captured SS aides, though one should avoid taking all their gossip too literally, for the book reveals as much about the Soviet mentality as about the German. The dossier's authors, after all, appreciated the regime's need to present Hitler as...


Russia!
James Billington
0892073292
November 2005
Hardcover
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Book Description
Building upon 20 years of groundbreaking exhibitions of Russian avant-garde art--including The Great Utopia: Russian and Soviet Art 1915-1932 (1992) and Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism (2003), among others--the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents this blockbuster show, which demonstrates that Russia's contributions to world art history extends far beyond the early 20th century. Like the exhibition, this catalogue explores the vast and complex phenomenon embodied by the word "Russia" through the lens of the masterworks of Russian art from the 12th century to today, as well as art from the world-class collections amassed by Russian tsars and merchants from the 18th through the 20th centuries. The remarkable and interconnected history of Russian art and Russia's most important collections over nine centuries includes...


Rulers and Victims : The Russians in the Soviet Union
Geoffrey Hosking
0674021789
April 30, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
For much of the U.S.S.R.'s existence, there was no such thing as a Russian, reveals Hosking in his follow-up to 1997's Russia: People and Empire, 1552–1917. That particular ethnic identity was banned by the Communist authorities. Instead, all those inhabiting the czars' ancient territories were designated "Soviets" by their new ideological overlords. The name change did nothing to temper the impression of foreigners and the Soviet Union's many other unwilling nationalities that the U.S.S.R. was Russia, a violent imperial entity run by and for Russians. Indeed, Russians believed themselves to be "helpful comrades" who had a right to spread the Gospel of Marx—in a form adapted to accommodate "Russian myths and symbols dating right back to the sixteenth century." But Hosking also argues that there is an...


The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar
Robert Alexander
0142003816
January 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
The Romanovs are arguably second only to Jack the Ripper as objects of literary speculation. The story of their last days, their possible escape and the final resting place of the $500 million in jewels hidden in their clothing provides periodic grist for fiction writers. Alexander's first novel is based on "decades of painstaking research" and access to previously sealed Russian archives. He has produced a detailed version of the Romanovs' captivity, but the book fails to deliver much drama, despite the inherent mystery of the events. Narrated by 94-year-old Mikhail Semyanov, a Russian immigrant now living outside Chicago, the novel travels back to the bloody days of the Russian revolution, when the entire royal family is imprisoned in Siberia, in a building known as the House of Special Purpose. There, the...


Stalin's Folly
Constantine Pleshakov
0618367012
May 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The subtitle of this provocative and useful work by a noted historian (The Tsar's Last Armada) accurately describes its subject. The author supports the revisionist thesis that Stalin was not deceived about Hitler's ultimate intentions, only their timing, and was planning a preemptive attack into Poland and the Balkans—in 1942. Soviet deployments certainly make this plausible, as do other factors, such as the failure to build up defenses on the new Soviet border after stripping the old ones of most of their weapons and troops. The Germans, as is well known, struck first, and the result was a Russian military disaster of such proportions as to influence history to this day. The book is well-balanced, moving from the Kremlin, where Stalin was in denial and Zhukov was at least keeping his head, to soldiers of...


Gulag
Anne Applebaum
1400034094
Apr 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part...


War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy, Anthony Briggs (Translator)
067003469X
January 19, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
British scholar Briggs unveils his lucid new translation of Tolstoy's masterpiece-the first in almost 40 years-to a slightly anxious audience, from first-timers who, balking at the amount of time required by this massive yet startlingly intricate work, want to ensure they are reading the best translation available, to purists who worry that clunky modern prose will replace the cadences of earlier translations. But these concerns melt away after the first 100 pages of this volume. Briggs's descriptions are crisper and the dialogue is sharper, with fewer "shall's," "shan't's" and "I say!'s" than the Garnett, Maude, or Edmonds translations, leaving readers free to enjoy the rich and complex plot, vivid characters and profound insights into war and the nature of power. There are some awkward spots: Briggs claims his...


War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy
0451523261
January 1983
Mass Market Paperback
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From Library Journal
Thanks to British narrator Frederick Davidson's performance, it is safe to say that there will not be a better recording of Tolstoy's masterpiece for some time. The heart of this drama is the metamorphosis of five familiesAsome peasant, some aristocraticAamid the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. Each individual is immersed in experiences and conversations elucidating Tolstoy's themes of self-sacrifice and self-indulgence, anguish and ecstasy, diplomacy and deception, and religion and perdition. The complexities of character and plot are sometimes enigmatic, and names are often exhausting to recollect, but the genius of this book is everlasting. The impressive dialog sparkles with humor and wit, and the vivid scenes of battle are riveting. An entire universe is created by one of the foremost thinkers of the 19th...


Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943
Antony Beevor
0140284583
May 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
Hitler made two fundamental and crippling mistakes during the Second World War: The first was his whimsical belief that the United Kingdom would eventually become his ally, which delayed his decision to launch a major invasion of Britain, whose army was unprepared for the force of blitzkrieg warfare. The second was the ill-conceived Operation Barbarossa--an invasion of Russia that was supposed to take the German army to the gates of Moscow. Antony Beevor's thoughtfully researched compendium recalls this epic struggle for Stalingrad. No one, least of all the Germans, could foretell the deep well of Soviet resolve that would become the foundation of the Red Army; Russia, the Germans believed, would fall as swiftly as France and Poland. The ill-prepared Nazi forces were trapped in a bloody war of attrition against the Russian...


Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Svetlana Alexievich
0312425848
April 2006
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A chorus of fatalism, stoic bravery and black, black humor is sounded in this haunting oral history of the 1986 nuclear reactor catastrophe in what is now northeastern Ukraine. Russian journalist Alexievich records a wide array of voices: a woman who clings to her irradiated, dying husband though nurses warn her "that's not a person anymore, that's a nuclear reactor"; a hunter dispatched to evacuated villages to exterminate the household pets; soldiers sent in to clean up the mess, bitter at the callous, incompetent Soviet authorities who "flung us there, like sand on the reactor," but accepting their lot as a test of manhood; an idealistic nuclear engineer whose faith in communism is shattered. And there are the local peasants who take this latest in a long line of disasters in stride, filtering back to their...


The Cold War
John Lewis Gaddis
1594200629
Dec 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. If it's difficult to imagine a history of the Cold War that can be described as thrilling, that should add more luster to Yale historian Gaddis's crown. Gaddis, who's written some half-dozen studies of the Cold War, delivers an utterly engrossing account of Soviet-U.S. relations from WWII to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The ideological clash between democratic capitalism and communism predated the war, of course, but the emergence of nuclear weapons created a new political situation. Suddenly, it was easy to imagine total war that might destroy not only the enemy but also the victor. Gaddis assesses what he sees as the positive contributions Thatcher, Reagan and Pope John Paul II made to furthering the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. and concludes with a sympathetic portrait of Gorbachev; his...


Stalin
Edvard Radzinsky
0385479549
Aug 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
Granted privileged access to Russia's secret archives, Edvard Radzinsky has broken down the iron curtain of myth, secrecy and lies that has surrounded Stalin's life and career, painting a picture of the Soviet strongman as more calculating, ruthless and blood-crazed than has ever been described or imagined. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Russian historian and playwright Radzinsky, whose bestselling The Last Tsar chronicled the assassination of the Romanov royal family, has produced a vivid, astonishingly intimate biography of Joseph Stalin. By drawing heavily on previously unavailable primary-source documents in recently opened party, state and KGB archives, he portrays the Soviet dictator as even more sadistic and methodically...


Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution
Peter Baker
0743264312
May 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
In 1931, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin gave a speech explaining that his country needed to industrialize rapidly to avoid repeating an old pattern: Russia being beaten because of its backwardness. He walked his audience through a litany of invaders: Mongol khans, Turkish beys, Swedish feudal lords, Polish and Lithuanian gentry, British and French capitalists, Japanese barons. "They beat her," he concluded, "because to do so was profitable and could be done with impunity." In their brilliant study of Vladimir Putin's rule over contemporary Russia, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser come back again and again to the current Russian president's eerily Stalinist rhetoric about the need to avoid looking weak so as not to be beaten (whether by oligarchs or Chechen rebels) and his resulting...


Voices From Chernobyl (Lannan Selection)
Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen (Translator)
1564784010
April 30, 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
A chorus of fatalism, stoic bravery and black, black humor is sounded in this haunting oral history of the 1986 nuclear reactor catastrophe in what is now northeastern Ukraine. Russian journalist Alexievich records a wide array of voices: a woman who clings to her irradiated, dying husband though nurses warn her "that's not a person anymore, that's a nuclear reactor"; a hunter dispatched to evacuated villages to exterminate the household pets; soldiers sent in to clean up the mess, bitter at the callous, incompetent Soviet authorities who "flung us there, like sand on the reactor," but accepting their lot as a test of manhood; an idealistic nuclear engineer whose faith in communism is shattered. And there are the local peasants who take this latest in a long line of disasters in stride, filtering back to their...


Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB
Christopher M. Andrew
0465003125
August 2000
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
In early 1992, a Russian man walked into the British embassy in a newly independent Baltic republic and asked to "speak to someone in authority." As he sipped his first cup of proper English tea, he handed over a small file of notes. Eight months later, the man, his family, and his enormous archive had been safely exfiltrated to Britain. When news that a KGB officer had defected with the names of hundreds of undercover agents leaked out in 1996, a spokesperson for the SVR (Russia's foreign intelligence service, heir of the KGB) said, "Hundreds of people! That just doesn't happen! Any defector could get the name of one, two, perhaps three agents--but not hundreds!"

Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin worked as chief archivist for the FCD, the foreign-intelligence arm of the KGB. Mitrokhin was responsible for checking and sealing...



Stalin
Simon Sebag Montefiore
1400076781
Sept 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Montefiore (The Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin) is more interested in life at the top than at the bottom, so he includes hundreds of pages on Stalin's purges of top Communists, while devoting much less space to the forced collectivization of Soviet peasants that led to millions of deaths. In lively prose, he intersperses his mammoth account of Stalin's often-deadly political decisions with the personal lives of the Soviet dictator and those around him. As a result, the reader learns about sexual peccadilloes of the top Communists: Stalin's secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, for one, "craved athletic women, haunting the locker rooms of Soviet swimmers and basketball players." Stalin's own escapades after the death of his wife are also noted. There's also much detail about the food at parties and other...


A Stranger to Myself : The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944
Max Hastings (Foreword), et al
0374139784
November 2, 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Sometimes lyrical, this memoir by a German youth who miraculously survived four tours of duty on the Russian front during WWII—he died on his fifth deployment—is a significant historical document. It is also a laborious and overwrought cacophony of Wagnerian proportions. Reese, who was a 20-year-old bank clerk in 1939 when he was first drafted, inhabits many different worlds, all of them conflicting. Despite Schmitz's assertion that Reese was "no Nazi," he was, like the vast majority of German youths of the time, deeply imbued with Nazi ideology and experienced the war as a sort of sacrament. Duty, abdication and heroism are just some of his motifs. Reese sees himself as a poet deciphering the human condition, but mostly he is just a soldier who plays his part in the atrocities—often...

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