Russia - History - 1917 to 1991
Inhuman Land: Searching for the Truth in Soviet Russia, 1941-1942
Inhuman Land
Searching for the Truth in Soviet Russia, 1941-1942
Paperback      ISBN: 1681372568
A classic work of reportage about the Katyń Massacre during World War II by a soldier who narrowly escaped the atrocity himself.

In 1941, when Germany turned against the USSR, tens of thousands of Poles--men, women, and children who were starving, sickly, and impoverished--were released from Soviet prison camps and allowed to join the Polish Army being formed in the south of Russia. One of the survivors who made the difficult winter journey was the painter and reserve officer J zef Czapski.

General Anders, the army's commander in chief, assigned Czapski the task of receiving the Poles arriving for military training; gathering accounts of what their fates had been; organizing education, culture, and news for the soldiers; and, most important, investigating the disappearance of thousands of missing Polish officers.
Blocked at every level by the Soviet authorities, Czapski was unaware that in April 1940 many officers had been shot dead in Katyn forest, a crime for which Soviet Russia never accepted responsibility.
Czapski's account of the years following his release from the camp and the formation of the Polish Army, and its arduous trek through Central Asia and the Middle East to fight on the Italian front offers a stark depiction of Stalin's Russia at war and of the suffering, stoicism, and bravery of his fellow Poles. A work of clear observation and deep compassion, Inhuman Land is one of the twentieth century's indispensable acts of literary witness.
Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945
Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort
1941-1945
Paperback      ISBN: 0140271694
"A penetrating and compassionate book on the most gigantic military struggle in world history."--The New York Times Book Review

"An extraordinary tale... Overy's engrossing book provides extensive details of teh slaughter, brutality, bitterness and destruction on the massive front from the White Sea to the flank of Asia."--Chicago Tribune

The Russian war effort to defeat invading Axis powers, an effort that assembled the largest military force in recorded history and that cost the lives of more than 25 million Soviet soldiers and civilians, was the decisive factor for securing an Allied victory. Now with access to the wealth of film archives and interview material from Russia used to produce the ten-hour television documentary Russia's War, Richard Overy tackles the many persuasive questions surrounding this conflict. Was Stalin a military genius? Was the defense of Mother Russia a product of something greater than numbers of tanks and planes--of something deep within the Russian soul?
Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Paperback      ISBN: 1590174518

A New York Review Books Original

Victor Serge is one of the great men of the 20th century --and one of its great writers too. He was an anarchist, an agitator, a revolutionary, an exile, a historian of his times, as well as a brilliant novelist, and in Memoirs of a Revolutionary he devotes all his passion and genius to describing this extraordinary--and exemplary--career. Serge tells of his upbringing among exiles and conspirators, of his involvement with the notorious Bonnot Gang and his years in prison, of his role in the Russian Revolution, and of the Revolution's collapse into despotism and terror. Expelled from the Soviet Union, Serge went to Paris, where he evaded the KGB and the Nazis before fleeing to Mexico. Memoirs of a Revolutionary recounts a thrilling life on the front lines of history and includes vivid portraits not only of Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin but of countless other figures who struggled to remake the world.
Peter Sedgwick's fine translation of Memoirs of a Revolutionary was abridged when first published in 1963. This is the first edition in English to present the entirety of Serge's book.
Stalin and the Scientists: A History of Triumph and Tragedy, 1905-1953
Stalin and the Scientists
A History of Triumph and Tragedy, 1905-1953
Hardcover      ISBN: 0802125980

Scientists throughout history, from Galileo to today's experts on climate change, have often had to contend with politics in their pursuit of knowledge. But in the Soviet Union, where the ruling elites embraced, patronized, and even fetishized science like never before, scientists lived their lives on a knife edge. The Soviet Union had the best-funded scientific establishment in history. Scientists were elevated as popular heroes and lavished with awards and privileges. But if their ideas or their field of study lost favor with the elites, they could be exiled, imprisoned, or murdered. And yet they persisted, making major contributions to 20th century science.

Stalin and the Scientists tells the story of the many gifted scientists who worked in Russia from the years leading up to the Revolution through the death of the "Great Scientist" himself, Joseph Stalin. It weaves together the stories of scientists, politicians, and ideologues into an intimate and sometimes horrifying portrait of a state determined to remake the world. They often wreaked great harm. Stalin was himself an amateur botanist, and by falling under the sway of dangerous charlatans like Trofim Lysenko (who denied the existence of genes), and by relying on antiquated ideas of biology, he not only destroyed the lives of hundreds of brilliant scientists, he caused the death of millions through famine.

But from atomic physics to management theory, and from radiation biology to neuroscience and psychology, these Soviet experts also made breakthroughs that forever changed agriculture, education, and medicine. A masterful book that deepens our understanding of Russian history, Stalin and the Scientists is a great achievement of research and storytelling, and a gripping look at what happens when science falls prey to politics.
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
Stalin
The Court of the Red Tsar
Paperback      ISBN: 1400076781

This widely acclaimed biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader, and Russian tsar.

Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with bracing narrative verve, this feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.

Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries, 1917-1922
Earthly Signs
Moscow Diaries, 1917-1922
Paperback      ISBN: 1681371626
A moving collection of autobiographical essays from a Russian poet and refugee of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Marina Tsvetaeva ranks with Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Boris Pasternak as one of Russia's greatest twentieth-century poets. Her suicide at the age of forty-eight was the tragic culmination of a life buffeted by political upheaval. The essays collected in this volume are based on diaries she kept during the turbulent years of the Revolution and Civil War. In them she records conversations of women in the markets, soldiers and peasants on the train traveling from the Crimea to Moscow in October 1917, fighting in the streets of Moscow, a frantic scramble with co-workers to dig frozen potatoes out of a cellar, and poetry readings organized by a newly minted Soviet bohemia. Alone in Moscow with two small children, no income, and a missing husband, Tsvetaeva struggled to feed her daughters (one of whom died of malnutrition in an orphanage), find employment in the Soviet bureaucracy, and keep writing poetry. Her keen and ruthless eye observes with compassion and humor--bringing the social, economic, and cultural chaos of the period to life. These autobiographical writings not only give a vivid eyewitness account of Russian history but provide vital insights into the workings of Tsvetaeva's unique poetics.

Includes black and white photographs.
Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II
Last Witnesses
An Oral History of the Children of World War II
Hardcover      ISBN: 0399588752
"A masterpiece" (The Guardian) from the Nobel Prize-winning writer, an oral history of children's experiences in World War II across Russia

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST

For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing "a new kind of literary genre," describing her work as "a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul."

Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Alexievich's collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. They had sometimes been soldiers as well as witnesses, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embedded--a trauma that would change the course of the Russian nation.

Collectively, this symphony of children's stories, filled with the everyday details of life in combat, reveals an altogether unprecedented view of the war. Alexievich gives voice to those whose memories have been lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history from the personal and private experiences of individuals.

Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Last Witnesses is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war.

Praise for Last Witnesses

"There is a special sort of clear-eyed humility to Alexievich's] reporting."--The Guardian

"A bracing reminder of the enduring power of the written word to testify to pain like no other medium. . . . Children survive, they grow up, and they do not forget. They are the first and last witnesses."--The New Republic

"A profound triumph."--The Big Issue

" Alexievich] excavates and briefly gives prominence to demolished lives and eradicated communities. . . . It is impossible not to turn the page, impossible not to wonder whom we next might meet, impossible not to think differently about children caught in conflict."--The Washington Post
Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - A World on the Edge
Caught in the Revolution
Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - A World on the Edge
Hardcover      ISBN: 1250056640

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters, Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold.

Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil - felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.

Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.

Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action - to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse."

Stalin: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives
Stalin
The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives
Paperback      ISBN: 0385479549

From the author of The Last Tsar, the first full-scale life of Stalin to have what no previous biography has fully obtained: the facts. Granted privileged access to Russia's secret archives, Edvard Radzinsky paints a picture of the Soviet strongman as more calculating, ruthless, and blood-crazed than has ever been described or imagined. Stalin was a man for whom power was all, terror a useful weapon, and deceit a constant companion.

As Radzinsky narrates the high drama of Stalin's epic quest for domination-first within the Communist Party, then over the Soviet Union and the world-he uncovers the startling truth about this most enigmatic of historical figures. Only now, in the post-Soviet era, can what was suppressed be told: Stalin's long-denied involvement with terrorism as a young revolutionary; the crucial importance of his misunderstood, behind-the-scenes role during the October Revolution; his often hostile relationship with Lenin; the details of his organization of terror, culminating in the infamous show trials of the 1930s; his secret dealings with Hitler, and how they backfired; and the horrifying plans he was making before his death to send the Soviet Union's Jews to concentration camps-tantamount to a potential second Holocaust. Radzinsky also takes an intimate look at Stalin's private life, marked by his turbulent relationship with his wife Nadezhda, and recreates the circumstances that led to her suicide.

As he did in The Last Tsar, Radzinsky thrillingly brings the past to life. The Kremlin intrigues, the ceaseless round of double-dealing and back-stabbing, the private worlds of the Soviet Empire's ruling class-all become, in Radzinsky's hands, as gripping and powerful as the great Russian sagas. And the riddle of that most cold-blooded of leaders, a man for whom nothing was sacred in his pursuit of absolute might--and perhaps the greatest mass murderer in Western history--is solved.
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
Red Famine
Stalin's War on Ukraine
Paperback      ISBN: 0804170886
AN ECONOMIST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes--the consequences of which still resonate today

In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization--in effect a second Russian revolution--which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR. But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them. Devastating and definitive, Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil.

Today, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has placed Ukrainian independence in its sights once more. Applebaum's compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.