Cover: Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia, from Harvard University PressCover: Restless Empire in HARDCOVER

Restless Empire

A Historical Atlas of Russia

Ian Barnes

Introduction by Dominic Lieven

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Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674504677

Publication Date: 05/11/2015


240 pages

8-1/2 x 11 inches

110 color maps, 40 illustrations

Belknap Press


[Restless Empire] uses dozens of maps to visualize a thousand years of geopolitical turbulence… Most powerful are [Barnes’s] maps of the wars that repeatedly threatened to tear the empire apart, from Napoleon’s doomed invasion in 1812 to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in 1941.—Joshua Hammer, The New York Times Book Review

The word ‘atlas’ brings to mind a collection of geographic maps, but that image doesn’t do justice to the richness, imagination, and comprehensiveness of this physically beautiful volume. Barnes has collected and painstakingly reproduced maps and texts that trace Russian history from the origins of the Slavs (800–200 BC) to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea… The impact is visually stunning and gives this massive expanse of history a physical quality.—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

This beautiful book tells the story of Russia through maps, beginning with the Slavic migrations from 900 to 500 BCE and ending with what the author calls the ‘Shadow Empire’ of the Russian Federation and the assertions of Vladimir Putin that parts of Moldova and Ukraine constitute a ‘New Russia.’ In between, maps show the shifting boundaries of empires, the roles of serfs and Jews, and the wars that challenged and shaped Russian self-understanding. Barnes, who died just before finishing the manuscript, can’t explain Russian thinking about the meaning of its territory and its menacing eye on its neighbors, nor can he predict how the story will end, but he superbly illuminates the complexity and the diversity of this mysterious country.The Christian Century

This historical atlas is timely, showing precisely the factors, patterns, and geography that led to present-day tensions with Russia. The book is richly illustrated and well written and, as with all great atlases, can be described as beautiful. Its strengths are the quality, number, breadth, and detail of the maps. Though it covers all historical eras, the book is particularly strong in its coverage of recent (postwar) Russian history… This will be a mandatory book for Russian history and geography collections.—R. W. Benfield, Choice

[A] valuable reference source on the history of Russia in maps… This work enhances readers’ knowledge of complicated geopolitic.Library Journal

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