New Books Network

Jan Plamper, “The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power” (Yale UP, 2012)
Jan Plamper begins in his book, The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (Yale University Press, 2012), with two illuminating anecdotes that demonstrate the power and scope of Stalin’s personality cult. The first comes from Sergei Kavtaradze, an Old Bolshevik and longtime friend of Stalin. Upon his... Read More
Jeffrey Mankoff, “Russian Foreign Policy: The Return of Great Power Politics” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)
In this episode, I spoke with Jeffrey Mankoff, an adjunct fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, and a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York. Mankoff recently released a second edition of his book Russian Foreign Policy:... Read More
Jeff Sahadeo, “Russian Colonial Society in Tashkent, 1865-1903” (Indiana UP, 2010)
Konstantin von Kaufmann, Governor-General of Russian Turkestan from 1867 until his death in 1882, wanted to be buried in Tashkent if he died in office; so that, he said, ‘all may know that here is true Russian soil, where no Russian need be ashamed to lie.’ Certainly not after Kaufmann’s... Read More
Michael David-Fox, “Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941” (OUP, 2011)
People who care about other places (and that’s not everyone) have always thought of Russia as a strange place. It doesn’t seem to “fit.” A good part of Russia is in Europe, but it’s not exactly “European.” Russia has natural resources galore, but it’s surprisingly poor. Russians have written a... Read More
Artemy Kalinovsky, “A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan” (Harvard UP, 2011)
It’s been twenty years since the Soviet Union collapsed, and scholars still joust over its long- and short-term causes. Amid the myriad factors–stagnating economy, reform spun out of control, globalization, nationalism–the Soviet war in Afghanistan figures in many narratives. Indeed, the ten-year intervention was the one of hottest and bloodiest... Read More
Jarrod Tanny, “City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa” (Indiana UP, 2011)
“Ah, nostalgia is such an illness, and what a beautiful illness. There is no medicine for it! And thank God there isn’t.” This was how one of the Soviet Union’s most famous jazz singers and actors, Leonid Utyosov, concluded his memoirs. Utyosov was referring to his ironic relationship with the... Read More
Frank Wcislo, “Tales of Imperial Russia: The Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849-1915” (Oxford UP, 2011)
When it comes to Russia’s great reformers of the nineteenth century, Count Sergei Witte looms large. As a minster to both Alexander III and Nicholas II, Witte presided over some of the most important economic and political developments in the Old Regime’s last quarter century. As Finance Minister he oversaw... Read More