New Books Network

Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers and sisters. If, however, you were born and live in... Read More
Christopher Ward, “Brezhnev’s Folly: The Building of BAM and Late Soviet Socialism” (Pittsburgh UP, 2009)
At the Seventeenth Komsomol Congress in 1974, Leonid Brezhnev announced the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway, or BAM. This “Path to the Future” would prove to be the Soviet Union’s last flirt with socialist gigantism. The cost, poor planning, waste, and environmental damage associated with the construction BAM’s 2,687... Read More
Thomas de Waal, “The Caucasus: An Introduction” (Oxford UP, 2010)
On August 8, 2008 many Americans learned that Russia had gone to war with a mysterious country called Georgia over an even stranger territory called South Ossetia. Both Georgia and South Ossetia were located not on the southeastern seaboard of the United States, but in a mountainous region south of... Read More
Miriam Dobson, “Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalin” (Cornell UP, 2009)
Examinations of the Soviet gulag are a cottage industry in Russian studies. Since 1991, a torrent of books have been published examining the gulag’s construction, management, memory, and legacy. Few scholars, however, have investigated how Soviet citizens reacted to the return of over four million prisoners from labor camps and... Read More
Kenneth Moss, “Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution” (Harvard UP, 2010)
For us, every “nation” has and has always had a “culture,” meaning a defining set of folkways, customs, and styles that is different from every other. But like the modern understanding of the word “nation,” this idea of “culture” or “a culture” is not very old. According to the OED,... Read More
Claudia Verhoeven, “The Odd Man Karakozov: Imperial Russia, Modernity, and the Birth of Terrorism (Cornell UP, 2009)
Scan the historical literature of the Russian revolutionary movement and you’ll find that Dmitrii Vladimirovich Karakozov occupies no more than a footnote. After all, Karakozov was no great theorist. He led no political organization. He hardly fit the image of the iron willed, revolutionary aesthetic who preached the maxim ‘The... Read More
J. Arch Getty, “Ezhov: The Rise of Stalin’s Iron Fist” (Yale UP, 2008)
When you think of the Great Terror, Stalin immediately comes to mind, and rightly so.But what of Nikolai Ezhov, the man who as head of the NKVD prosecuted Stalin reign of terror? We’ve learned a lot about Ezhov’s involvement in the Terror since the opening of Soviet archives in 1991.... Read More