Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East

Martin Sixsmith, Author
Martin Sixsmith. Overlook, $37.95 (624p) ISBN 978-1-59020-723-9
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 03/15/2012
Open Ebook - 624 pages - 978-1-4464-1688-4
Hardcover - 611 pages - 978-1-84990-072-0
Paperback - 611 pages - 978-1-4683-0501-2
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4084-9723-4
Paperback - 611 pages - 978-1-84990-073-7
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Twenty years after the U.S.S.R.’s collapse, Russia remains a world-class power, and former BBC Moscow correspondent Sixsmith (Putin’s Oil: The Yukos Affair and the Struggle for Russia) delivers a thoroughly satisfying history. He reaches the 20th century well before the text’s one-third point, but skillfully summarizes the semilegendary ninth century merging of Slav and Viking tribes to form the “Rus” people. Two centuries of Mongol rule after 1200 isolated the country from Renaissance cultural values, but recovery under the Romanov Tsars (1612–1917) produced the world’s largest empire, a rich culture, and a stubbornly autocratic government that persists despite a reforming czar (Peter the Great), the Enlightenment (Catherine the Great), and two revolutions (1917, 1991). Sixsmith interrupts his story to visit historical sites and speak to Russians about their past, a tactic that may stir readers to do the same. A lively, opinionated narrative. (Mar.)
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