The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, February 04, 2016
We receive dozens of books from publishers each year, yet can only review a few in each issue of Russian Life. Here are a few books we recently received that are in publication and should be brought to Russophiles' attention.
Midnight in St. Petersburg, by Vanora Bennett (Thomas Dunne, $25.99)
Faberge jewels, Rasputin, and a priceless Stradivarious violin all play a part in a young woman's flight for survival, and for love, in revolutionary Russia.
Russian Tattoo, by Elena Gorokhova (Simon and Schuster, $15.99)
We reviewed this fine memoir by the author of Mountain of Crumbs in our November/December 2014 issue. The book is now out in paperback.
Alla Osipenko, by Joel Lobenthal (Oxford University Press, $34.95)
An autobiography of the legendary dancer and rebel who paid the price for speaking truth to Soviet power. The book draws on 40 interviews with the prima ballerina, tracing her life from classical darling to avant-garde rebel.
Soviet Leaders and Intelligence, by Raymond L. Garthoff (Georgetown University Press, $26.95)
A leading Soviet expert offers an informed and highly readable assessment of how Soviet leaders understood (and misunderstood) the intentions and objectives of their "main adversary." Garthoff shows how Soviet leaders were often not receptive to intelligence analyses that conflicted with their existing beliefs, and that intelligence officers were often not willing to challenge ideological orthodoxy.
Hit Parade: The Orbita Group, edited by Kevin M.F. Platt (Ugly Duckling Presse, $18)
A bilingual Russian-English colleciton of poems by the four leading authors of the Orbita creative collective, based in Riga, Latvia. Orbita is a trans-ethnic, trans-linguistic phenomenon that draws on both the traditions and contemporary scenes of Russia, Latvia and Europe.
Russia: Putin's Playground, by Anastasia Edel (Lightning Guides, $8.99)
Mini travel book sized, this is a brief guide to recent trends in culture, politics and society, with a dash of history thrown in. Lightning Guides "are short, beautiful books that connect curious readers to big ideas." Brevity is the watchword here, but it could be a good starting point for someone just dipping their toe in Russophilia.
The St. Petersburg Connection, by Alexis S. Troubetzkoy (Dundurn, $29.99)
A short, well-written history of Russian-American relations from 1776 to 1917, exploring the seemingly unlikely connections between the two countries – one a champion of liberty and progress, the other an absolute monarchy and defender of tradition.