Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia Samuel Charap and Timothy J. Colton When protest and then war broke out in 2013/14 in Ukraine, many people in the US couldn’t find Ukraine, much less the Crimea or the Donbass, on a map, and for most people that’s probably still the […]Read more "“Everyone Loses” by Charap and Colton"
Capsoul Alex Krasnov If you like numerology, this is the book for you. A mixture of science, science fiction, fantasy, and mysticism based on numerology, “Capsoul” is the story of a group of emigres from the former USSR to the US and Canada who design a project to create a kind of “immortality machine” that […]Read more "“Capsoul” by Alex Krasnov"
In this collection of tales, in turns lyrical and brutal, Oleg Ermakov, probably Russia’s foremost writer on the Soviet war in Afghanistan, depicts the war from multiple points of view: a boy on a date a couple of days before he heads off to basic training, a raw recruit forced to commit an act he […]Read more "“Afghan Tales” by Oleg Yermakov"
What can I say about Politkovskaya that I haven’t already said? Maybe that this book, written specifically for publication abroad, is perhaps the most foreigner-friendly of her works. Unlike “A Dirty War,” which is a compilation of her early articles on the second Chechen war, or later books such as “A Russian Diary,” which are […]Read more "“Putin’s Russia” by Anna Politkovskaya"
A historical overview of the first Chechen war, and the first couple of years of the second, with comparisons of the Chechen situation with that of other autonomous republics of the RF such as Tatarstan, and discussions of possible outcomes. This is a detailed and informative book on post-Soviet Chechnya. While well-written, it is unquestionably […]Read more "“The Chechen Wars” by Matthew Evangelista"
Isadora Duncan was, in her own peculiar way, one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. Not only did she usher in a new conception of dance, but she embodied the turn-of-the-century ideal of turning life itself into art. Her personal life was at least as theatrical as her performances, and much more […]Read more "“Isadora” by Amelia Gray"
When teaching a survey class of Russian literature, one of the more vexing questions is which text to pick. You want to give students an idea of the breadth and richness of Russian literature, but not overwhelm them with impossible page counts. Of course they SHOULD read “And Quiet Flows the Don,” “Life and Fate,” […]Read more "“50 Writers: An Anthology of 20th-Century Russian Short Stories”"
In “Wolf Hunt,” the threads of village passions come together as a group sets off on a wolf hunt that serves as a pretext for something even more murderous. Living side-by-side for decades, right through the upheavals of WWII and forced collectivization, has inflamed resentments rather than drawing people together, leading to a violent denouement. […]Read more "“Wolf Hunt” by Ivailo Petrov"
Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present A compelling survey of irregular warfare from the pre-Christian era to the present, “Invisible Armies” covers both guerrilla fighting, which Boot calls “the oldest form of warfare,” and terrorism, which he considers “strikingly modern.” While exhaustively researched, this is not a […]Read more "“Invisible Armies” by Max Boot"
Of Our Own Device Cold Warriors rejoice! A major fix for your addiction has arrived! Okay, I’m being tongue in cheek, but “Of Our Own Device” has pretty much everything readers longing for a hit of classic Cold War spy fiction could want. Plus a bunch more. It’s a big, sprawling book covering the Gorbachev […]Read more "“Of Our Own Device” by M.K. South"