Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know
Russia has been integrally tied into world history for centuries (and American history for more than a century), and yet we seem to understand so little about its history, its government, and the motivations of the Russian people. For all our bluster and interactions, Russia remains an enormous question mark forever on the horizon.
Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know is the first book I’ve read that really works to dispel the fog and hearsay, delving deep into the country’s history to paint a staggeringly detailed portrait of a world both familiar and very alien to many readers. Particularly enlightening are the sections exploring the rise to power of Putin and how he differs from all of the previous 20th-century leaders in Russian history.
Topics as diverse as Crimea (and Russia’s motivations there), Syria, the oligarchy, recurring revolutions, and more are covered here, as well as unexpected yet informative questions like “how creative a country is present-day Russia?” This book demands your attention in more ways than one.
There’s so much material here that I plan on reading the book again to glean even greater insights. Given the uncertainty in America these days, it seems only fitting.
Timothy J. Colton
Oxford University Press