10 Best Books On Russian History Update 05/2022

Best Books On Russian History

The House of Government. A Saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkine

The House of Government. A Saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkine

The House of Government is very different from any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union. Yuri Slezkine’s gripping story is based on the true story of the residents of a huge Moscow apartment building where top Communist officials and their families lived before Stalin’s purges destroyed them. It’s written in the same style as War and Peace, Life and Fate, and The Gulag Archipelago. Bolshevik true believers lived their lives in vivid detail in this book. It tells how they changed their minds about Communism and then how their children lost their faith and how the Soviet Union came to an end.

A Spy in the Archives by Sheila Fitzpatrick

This is what Moscow looked like when it wasn’t on one side of the Iron Curtain. It was a mysterious, exotic place that could be dangerous. In 1966, the historian Sheila Fitzpatrick went to Moscow to look at Soviet records. A possible “thaw” in the Cold War took place during this time. The Soviets couldn’t decide whether to thaw out properly or freeze again. This is what people thought about Moscow, the world capital of socialism. It was known for being very dull. The buses were full, and there were long lines and shortages all the time. This was also the time when there were a lot of spying scandals and diplomatic expulsions, so it was no surprise that the KGB did a lot of background checks on visitors. In fact, some of Fitzpatrick’s friends were accused of being spies or kept under very close surveillance. In this book, Sheila Fitzpatrick gives a unique look at how people lived in Soviet Moscow every day. Her memoir is full of drama and colorful characters. It shows the dangers and drudgery faced by Westerners living under communism.

Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia’s History by Catherine Merridale

The Kremlin has been the center of Moscow for many centuries. It is both beautiful and terrifying. Russia’s history has been played out behind the walls and towers of this huge red building. It’s both a real place and an idea. It’s a shorthand for a certain kind of secretive power, but it’s also the heart of a unique Russian style. Catherine Merridale wrote an amazing book about the Kremlin. It’s both dramatic and surprising: an impregnable fortress that has been destroyed many times, and a symbol of all that is Russian that was mostly made by Italians. The many people who have lived in the Kremlin have always changed it to fit the needs of different ideologies. Buildings have been built or demolished to fit the social, spiritual, military, or regal priorities of the current ruler. All have claimed to be heirs to Russia’s great history.

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes

A People’s Tragedy The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes

It’s history on a grand scale, but also on a very small one. A People’s Tragedy is an in-depth look at the Russian Revolution for a new generation. It’s big in scope, has a lot of original research, and is written with passion, narrative skill, and human empathy. Many people think the Russian Revolution was the most important thing that happened in the 20th century. Orlando Figes, a well-known historian, gives us a picture of Russian society on the eve of the revolution. He then tells us how these social forces were violently wiped out. In the big strokes of war and revolution, there are small stories about people. Figes follows the fortunes of the main players as they saw their hopes die and their world fall apart. Instead of focusing on big political forces and ideals, Figes says that the failure of democracy in 1917 was deeply rooted in Russian culture and history, and that what started out as a people’s revolution had the seeds of violence and dictatorship in it. A People’s Tragedy is a masterful and original synthesis by a mature scholar that is told in a compelling and relatable way.

A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra edited by Andrei Maylunas and Sergei Mironenko

Members of Russia’s royal Romanov family were always writing letters and keeping diaries. By combining the writings of Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Empress Alexandra, their children, relatives, and friends, as well as excerpts from memoirs and supporting documents recently released by the Russian State Archive, this chronologically organized documentary paints a vivid picture of the Russian family. It starts in 1881 when Nicholas’s grandfather, Czar Alexander II, is killed at the age of 12. Then, in 1918, the Bolsheviks kill Nicholas, Alexandra, their children, and their servants, as well as his grandfather. The diary entries of Nicholas’s cousin, Grand Duke Konstantin, who was a poet, intellectual, translator of Hamlet, and gay, are among the most interesting. Grand Duchess Xenia, the czar’s sister, mocks the royal couple’s worship of Siberian peasant Grigory Rasputin. This is the most moving thing of all: the love and devotion between Nicholas and Alexandra. The writings of the Romanovs, which are full of scandals, romance, rocky marriages, and murders, show how out of touch they were with the rest of us.

Lost Splendour and the Death of Rasputin by Felix Yusupov

He killed Rasputin, the “mad monk,” on December 30, 1916, and wrote about it in chilling detail in these memoirs.

In this book, he tells lies about how he killed the Tsar’s only niece, but it also shows a colorful and eccentric picture of aristocratic life in St. Petersburg at the end of the tsarist period, his glamorous time in England, and his marriage to Princess Irina, the Tsar’s only niece.

Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization by Stephen Kotkin

Magnetic Mountain Stalinism as a Civilization by Stephen Kotkin

Study: This is the first one of its kind: an inside look at what Stalinism meant to the people who lived it. An American named Stephen Kotkin was the first person from the U.S. in 45 years to be allowed into Magnitogorsk, a city that was built in response to Stalin’s plan to turn the mostly agricultural country into one that made metal. When Kotkin has access to a lot of previously untapped archives and interviews, he comes up with a vivid and compelling story about the effects of industrialization on a single city.

Kotkin says that Stalinism was a chance for people to learn more about the world. It said that socialism would be a new way of life based on the rejection of capitalism. A lot of what makes this story so interesting is how much of a role the citizenry played in this plan, and how the state’s goals were in line with the dreams of ordinary people. Kotkin tells it very well. He has a great deal of knowledge about the social and political system, as well as a good sense of how things work in the real world.

Kotkin shows a lot of different kinds of people, from the blast furnace workers who worked at the huge iron and steel plant to the families who had to live in cramped homes because there weren’t enough homes and services. Magnetic Mountain marks the start of a new phase in the writing of Soviet social history because it is organized and focused on a single theme.

Everything was Forever, until it was no longer There was nothing left to say

Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No MoreThe Last Soviet Generation by Alexei Yurchak

Soviet socialism was built on a lot of paradoxes, which were revealed when the system fell apart in a unique way. They thought it was both completely unexpected and completely unsurprising when that system fell apart, but it was both of those things to them. At the time of the collapse, it became clear that Soviet life had always seemed both eternal and slow, vigorous and sick, bleak and full of promise. Despite the fact that these traits may seem like they don’t go together, they were actually part of each other. To look at the contradictions of Soviet life during the last years of “late socialism,” this book looks at it through the eyes of a group of people who were born during that time.

Alexei Yurchak looks at the major changes in discourse, ideology, language, and ritual that took place in the 1950s and how they led to a wide range of new meanings, communities, relationships, ideals, and pursuits. His historical, anthropological, and linguistic analysis is based on a lot of rich ethnographic material from the end of the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet era.

Model: The model of Soviet socialism that emerges is an alternative to the binary accounts of socialism that say that the state and the people, the public self and private self, truth and lies are two sides of the same coin. These accounts don’t take into account the fact that many Soviet citizens thought that the fundamental values, ideals, and realities of socialism were important, even though they broke the rules and rules of the sociali system on a regular basis.

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

In the Wall Street Journal, Masha Gessen has been called “fearless” for criticizing the most powerful person in Russia. She is an award-winning journalist who knows more about her native country than anyone else. Four people were born at the start of what was supposed to be a new era of democracy. In The Future Is History, she talks about their lives. Each came of age with new expectations, some because they were the children and grandchildren of the people who built the new Russia. Each had new goals of their own: to be entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social people. It’s not only against the regime that wants to crush them all that Gessen charts their paths. It’s also against the war the regime waged on itself, which ensured that the old Soviet order would return in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state.

Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman

If you want to know everything there is to know about a person who was both important and controversial during the 20th century, this book is for you.

Taubman’s book is based on interviews with Gorbachev, transcripts and documents from the Russian archives, and interviews with Kremlin aides and adversaries, as well as interviews with foreign leaders. Taubman’s book also talks about Gorbachev’s marriage to a woman he loved and the family they raised together. This detailed account is both poignant and sensitive, but it is also unflinching and honest. It has all the power of a great Russian novel.

When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the USSR in March 1985, the country was still one of the world’s two superpowers at the time. It took six years for the Communist system to be dismantled, the Cold War to come to an end, and on December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union itself was no longer a country: While he wasn’t the only person who caused this amazing change, he set important things in motion. The opinions of Gorbachev could not be more different. In the West, he is a hero. In Russia, people who blame him for the fall of the USSR don’t like him very much. Admirers are in awe of this vision and courage. People who don’t like him, even some of his Kremlin friends, have accused him of everything from naivete to treason.

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