In the early hours of New Year's 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Asne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.
In the following decade, Seierstad became an internationally renowned reporter and author, traveling to the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn regions. But she never lost sight of this conflict that had initially inspired her career. Over the course of a decade, she watched as Russia ruthlessly suppressed an Islamic rebellion in two bloody wars and as Chechnya evolved into one of the flashpoints in a world now focused on the threat of international terrorism.
In 2006, Seierstad finally returned to Chechnya, traveling in secret and under the constant threat of danger. In a broken and devastated society she lived with orphans, the wounded, the lost. And she lived with the children of Grozny, those who will shape the country's future. She asks the question: What happens to a child who grows up surrounded by war and accustomed to violence?
A compelling, intimate, and often heartbreaking portrait of Chechnya today, The Angel of Grozny is a vivid account of a land's violent history and its ongoing battle for freedom.
In Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, Stanford University lecturer Bertrand M. Patenaude tells the dramatic story of Leon Trotsky's final years in exile in Mexico. Shedding new light on Trotsky's tumultuous friendship with painter Diego Rivera, his affair with Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo, and his torment as his family and comrades become victims of the Great Terror, Trotsky Downfall of a Revolutionary brilliantly illuminates the fateful and dramatic life of one of history's most famous yet elusive figures.
The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky's history of the USSR's nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.
What makes Kalinovsky's intense account both timely and important is its focus not on motives for initiating the conflict but on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing war. Why did the USSR linger for so long, given that key elites recognized the blunder of the mission shortly after the initial deployment?
Newly available archival material, supplemented by interviews with major actors, allows Kalinovsky to reconstruct the fierce debates among Soviet diplomats, KGB officials, the Red Army, and top Politburo figures. The fear that withdrawal would diminish the USSR's status as leader of the Third World is palpable in these disagreements, as are the competing interests of Afghan factions and the Soviet Union's superpower rival in the West. This book challenges many widely held views about the actual costs of the conflict to the Soviet leadership, and its findings illuminate the Cold War context of a military engagement that went very wrong, for much too long.
Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.
In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia s greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original manuscript of Pasternak s first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world. Pasternak believed his novel was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.
From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA, which recognized that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak s funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the writer-dissident in the Soviet Union.
In The Zhivago Affair, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee bring us intimately close to this charming, passionate, and complex artist. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.
(With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
A compassionate glimpse into the extremes where the new Russia meets the old, writes Robert Legvold (Foreign Affairs) about Andrew Meier's enthralling new work. Journeying across a resurgent and reputedly free land, Meier has produced a virtuosic mix of nuanced history, lyric travelogue, and unflinching reportage. Throughout, Meier captures the country's present limbo--a land rich in potential but on the brink of staggering back into tyranny--in an account that is by turns heartrending and celebratory, comic and terrifying. A 2003 New York Public Library Book to Remember. Black Earth is the best investigation of post-Soviet Russia since David Remnick's Resurrection. Andrew Meier is a truly penetrating eyewitness.--Robert Conquest, author of The Great Terror; If President Bush were to read only the chapters regarding Chechnya in Meier's Black Earth, he would gain a priceless education about Putin's Russia.--Zbigniew Brzezinski Even after the fall of Communism, most American reporting on Russia often goes no further than who's in and who's out in the Kremlin and the business oligarchy. Andrew Meier's Russia reaches far beyond . . . this Russia is one where, as Meier says, history has a hard time hiding. Readers could not easily find a livelier or more insightful guide.--Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin From the pointless war in Chechnya to the wild, exhilarating, and dispiriting East and the rise of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer--it's all here in great detail, written in the layers the story deserves, with insight, passion, and genuine affection.--Michael Specter, staff writer, The New Yorker; co-chief, The New York Times Moscow Bureau, 1995-98. [Meier's] knowledge of the country and his abiding love for its people stands out on every page of this book....But it is his linguistic fluency, in particular, which enables Mr. Meier to dig so deeply into Russia's black earth.--The Economist A wonderful travelogue that depicts the Russian people yet again trying to build a new life without really changing their old one.--William Taubman, The New York Times Book Review.
Russia's 18th-century drive toward modernity and empire under the two "greats" - Peter I and Catherine II - is captured in this work by one of Russia's outstanding young historians. The author develops three themes: Russia's relationship to the West; the transformation of "Holy Russia" into a multinational empire; and the effects of efforts to modernize Russia selectively along Western lines. Writing in a clear, crisp style, Kamenskii enlivens the narrative with observations from contemporary literary figures and political commentators that point up the lasting significance of the events he describes.
Nearly all recognition of the unparalleled democracy the Russian Revolution established has been destroyed by the legacy of the Stalinist regime that followed. Kevin Murphy's writing, based on exhaustive research, is the most thorough investigation to date on working-class life during the revolutionary era, reviving the memory of the incredible gains for liberty and equality that the 1917 revolution brought about.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 was one of the pivotal events in world history, and the Russian Bolshevik Party played a central role in that revolution. This book by British socialist Tony Cliff (1917-2000) traces the building of that party and, in particular, the work of its main architect, Lenin.
The murder of Grigori Rasputin, mystic, healer, and advisor to the Tsar and Tsaritsa of Russia, remains one of the most intriguing crimes of the twentieth century.
Using cutting edge forensic police techniques, former Scotland Yard cop Richard Cullen goes back in time to solve the murder and reveal how British secret services were involved in the plot. He has uncovered a story of sexual tensions, torture, and murder in which British spooks were closely involved.
Richard Cullen was a detective for much of his career. He is now a senior Ministry of Justice official.