During the summer of 1991, a hard-line coup against reformist president Mikhail Gorbachev was undermined, as ordinary Russians protested in the streets to defend democracy and Boris Yeltsin famously mounted a Soviet tank to join the resistance movement. In the aftermath of the failed August coup and the eventual dissolution of the Communist Party, citizens of the world anxiously awaited Russia’s transition to a Western-style market democracy, only to be disappointed by runaway inflation, ethnic violence, and rampant political corruption.
More than twenty years later, Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin is facing the largest civil protests since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia looks at the events of 1991 and places them within the broadest historical context, highlighting the previous turning points in more than a thousand years of Russian history when the nation could have gone either way—down the path of reform and liberal democracy or totalitarian rule and autocracy. With decades of experience reporting for the BBC in Eastern Europe, Sixsmith settles the score in this accurate and engrossing story of Russia’s path, skillfully tracing the conundrums of contemporary Russia to their roots in its troubled past.
Martin Sixsmith recently contributed an original piece to the Los Angeles Review of Books on Russia’s “New Times of Trouble” and was profiled by Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta’s supplement Russia Beyond the Headlines. To celebrate the release of Russia, we’re giving away one copy to a randomly selected subscriber to the blog. We’ll be drawing a winner tomorrow afternoon at 5pm (EST), so you still have twenty four hours to sign up for your chance to win.
Advance Praise for RUSSIA:
“Russia, a 1,000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East has all the ingredients to become the leading popular history of Russia. Colloquial, personal and anecdotal in style … well researched and factually sound.”
– The Times Literary Supplement
“Sixsmith exemplifies good storytelling. He writes with the cadence and comfort of a professional talker and all of Russian history seems to earn his complete interest.” – ForeWord Reviews
“Twenty years after the U.S.S.R.’s collapse, Russia remains a world-class power, and former BBC Moscow correspondent Sixsmith delivers a thoroughly satisfying history.” – Publishers Weekly
“Whip-smart … a compelling look at Russian history by a practiced Russia hand.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Sixsmith, formerly a BBC television reporter posted in Russia, immerses readers in the Russian landscape and peoples with descriptions of places he’s visited and quotations of poetry.” – Booklist
“Martin Sixsmith has put his experience as a longstanding reporter in Moscow for the BBC to very good use in this engagingly written account of Russia’s conflicted history.” – History Book Club
“Among the many contemporary books about Russia, general readers are likely to choose Sixsmith’s 600-page tome for its comprehensiveness and air of authority. As popular history, it is enjoyable and engaging.” – Russia Beyond the Headlines