In a sweeping narrative, Geoffrey Hosking, one of the English-speaking world’s leading historians of Russia, follows the country’s history from the first emergence of the Slavs in the historical record in the sixth century CE to the Russians’ persistent appearances in today’s headlines.
The second edition covers the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and Dmitrii Medvedev and the struggle to make Russia a viable functioning state for all its citizens.
[A] comprehensive and intelligent survey of Russian history for the general reader…[that follows] the twists and turns of Slavic history from the principalities of Kievan Rus in the late ninth century to the presidency of Boris Yeltsin… [A] most excellent historical survey.
For the general reader, this book is the King James version of Russian history.
There…seems to be a general failure to understand Russians on their own terms—as people who, on one hand are no different than the foreigners trying to analyze them and, on the other hand, think and act in ways that baffle outsiders. In other words, Russians behave just like us, except when they don’t. Those seeking answers to these mysteries will welcome Geoffrey Hosking’s latest work, Russia and the Russians, a massive survey that begins with the Kievan Rus in the ninth century and ends with Vladimir Putin’s arrival in the Kremlin in 2000. Mr. Hosking has made an important contribution to those seeking to better understand a country and its people.
Russia’s history, more than that of almost any other country, lends itself to passion and polemic…[Hosking] nevertheless attempts…a dispassionate account. Writing with enviable lucidity, he sets out to dispel the current negativeness and general ambivalence that characterizes both Western and native assessments of Russia’s role in the world… His general argument is compelling.
Russia and the Russians…is a comprehensive and up-to-date textbook of Russian history… [Hosking] covers every aspect of Russia from the terrain itself, to the tsars, to Russian nationalism, to the Cold War, to Perestroika, to the Russian Federation—and he is thorough. Russia and the Russians is a book for the serious student of history.
For the thousand years of its recorded existence, Russia’s history has been as dramatic, tragic, and inspiring as that of any nation, exerting a perennial attraction that cries for the one-volume introduction Hosking is well equipped to provide. His book is especially welcome because he links the Communist era, now that it is over, to the enduring themes of the Russian experience… This is a high-quality overview.
Hosking’s narrative is so compellingly and gracefully written and so meticulously researched that the reader will find an abundance of treasure. While more valuable to the general reader than the specialist, the latter will still derive insight from the book. This quality is never better illustrated than in the introduction, where Hosking sets forth ‘the four salient characteristics’ that have ‘imparted to Russia a paradoxical combination of colossal strength and almost crippling weakness.’ His treatment of the Nikonian reforms, social transformation and terror during Stalin’s collectivization, and Gorbachev’s perestroika are similarly stimulating… [Hosking’s] insight and expertise provide a learning experience for all levels of reader.
Hosking…offers a comprehensive survey from the beginnings of Kievan Rus through Russia’s recent independence, emphasizing the impact of relations between Russians and non-Russians… This book’s strength lies in its revealing Russia’s continuities. The result compares favorably with some of the best Russian histories of recent decades while also consolidating new scholarship. Highly recommended.
A book intended for a general educated audience and students, a survey of the entire course of Russian history. Hosking is up on the current literature and is invariably judicious in dealing with historiographical controversies.
Hosking’s book has comprehensive sweep and a clear writing style. It is filled with judicious appraisals of a number of critical historical issues. A book of vast erudition written by an eminently qualified scholar, it is much-needed.
- 752 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
From this author
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