A Concise History of the Russian Revolution

  The author, Richard Pipes, has condensed his two-volume opus, “The Russian Revolution” and “Russia Under the Bolsheviks”, into a single readable volume. Forcefully showing why the 70-year-old Communist experiment failed, he provides the nonacademic reader with accurate historical events in a highly readable format. Only a minor flaw in the fourth chapter, where he fails to explain who the Mensheviks were until 30 pages later in the next chapter, mars this excellent book. The approach parallels Dominic Lieven’s contemporary volume “Nicholas II” but is better organized and more complete. The last chapter does a fine job of summing up the revolution and adds a curious comparison between Bolshevik and Tsarist Russia. Ultimately, Pipes shows how the seeds of destruction of communism were planted at its inception in 1917. Recommended for public, academic, and school libraries.

A History of Russian Architecture

  Sweeping from masonry churches of Kievan Rus to the prefabricated, industrialized buildings of the post-Stalinist era, this detailed, magnificently illustrated history firmly places Russian architecture in a cultural context.
  Brumfield, a professor of Slavic languages at Tulane University, traces an “architecture of national survival’ from late medieval votive churches, which reflected a succession of tzars’ suspicion of Western culture, through Peter the Great’s pragmatic adaptation of northern baroque, to 1930s totalitarian pseudoclassicism. He examines Russia’s creative assimilation of foreign influences into distinctive forms, whether in neoclassical palaces, festive polychrome churches with gilded onion domes, log houses, the eclectic “style moderne” of Moscow’s Hotel Metropole or the international modernism of 1920s constructivists.

A History of Russian Music: From Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar

  Francis Maes’ comprehensive and imaginative book introduces the general public to the scholarly debate that has revolutionized Russian music history over the past two decades. Based on the most recent critical literature, “A History of Russian Music” summarizes the new view of Russian music and provides a solid overview of the relationships between artistic movements and political ideas. The revision of Russian music history may count as one of the most significant achievements of recent musicology. The Western view used to be largely based on the ideas of Vladimir Stasov, a friend and confidant of leading nineteenth-century Russian composers who was more a propagandist than a historian. With the deconstruction of Stasov’s interpretation, stereotyped views have been replaced by a fuller understanding of the conditions and the context in which composers such as Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky created their oeuvres.
  Even the more recent history of Soviet music, in particular the achievement of Dmitry Shostakovich, is being assessed on new documentary grounds. A more complex conception of Russian music develops as Maes explores the cultural and historical milieu from which great works have emerged. Questioning and re-examining traditional views, the author considers the personal development of composers, the relationship of art to social and political ideals in Russia, and the ideologies behind musical research.

Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier’s Story

  Drafted into the Soviet Army in April 1984 and sent at the age of 19 to serve in Afghanistan as a minesweeper, Vladislav Tamarov turned in secret to the pen and the camera to chronicle his 621 days of war. Photographs depicting the haunted faces of both soldiers and civilians, the country’s ragged yet beautiful mountain terrain, and the banality of daily life between missions and interspersed with Tamarov’s unsentimental but passionate prose, in which he reveals his growing disorientation and assails his government’s folly for engaging in a campaign that has been widely dubbed “the Soviet Vietnam.”
  A powerful example of the photo essay, “Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier’s Story” presents a powerful portrait of a traumatic war. With images and words bursting with insight, anger, and beauty, Tamarov proves himself a poet of both the word and the image in this moving account.

Chronicle of the Russian Tsars

  This chronicle documents the lives of Tsars famous and infamous in a lively series of biographical portraits stretching from the late 15th to the early 20th centuries. With its comprehensive timelines, datafiles, quotations and stunning illustrations, “Chronicle of the Russian Tsars” is at once an absorbing narrative history and an essential work of reference that brings to life a powerful empire and distinctive civilization whose impact on the history of Europe and the world is immeasurable.

Empire: The Russian Empire and Its Rivals

  Focusing on the Tsarist and Soviet empires of Russia, the author reveals the nature and meaning of all empires throughout history. He examines factors that mold the shape of the empires, including geography and culture, and compares the Russian empires with other imperial states, from ancient China and Rome to the present-day United States. With bright and colorful illustrations.

Investigating The Russian Mafia

  The author, Joseph D. Serio, Serio provides a road map to the Russian criminal mind set. He writes from experience, having spent about ten years in Russia, working on organized crime as an academic and consultant. This book is interesting in the ways that it describes how the three players in the Iron Triangle (bureaucracy-businesses-criminals) can overlap and merge in their roles and actions: a businessman working as a criminal, a bureaucrat making money as a businessman, etc.
  This book is quite good in bringing a whole new perspective towards Russian Organized crime.

Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film

  This history of the turbulent destiny of Kino (“film” in Russian) documents the artistic development of the Russian and Soviet cinema and traces its growth from 1896 to the death of Sergei Eisenstein in 1948. The new Postscript surveys the directions taken by Soviet cinema since the end of World War II. Beginning with the Lumiere filming of the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, the author links Russia’s pre-Revolutionary past with its Communist present through the observation of a major cultural phenomenon: the evolution of the Soviet film as an artistic and political instrument.
  The book contains 150 drawings and photographs and five appendices, including a list of selected Russian and Soviet films from 1907 to the present.

Kosmos: A Portrait of the Russian Space Age

  The Space Race was an exhilirating moment in history, alternately frightening, thrilling, awe-inspiring, and ultimately, sublime. Its most enigmatic element was the competition. The Soviets seemed less technologically sophisticated but in fact won many of the races: first satellite to orbit the earth; first man in space; first unmanned landings on Mars, Venus, and the Moon; first woman in space; most powerful rockets; and, until its recent fiery death, the most long-lived space station - to name but a few. The inherent contradictions of the age - the mixture of technologies high and low, of nostalgia and progress, of pathos and promise - are revealed in “Kosmos”, Adam Bartos’s astonishing photographic survey of the Soviet space program.
  Bartos’ fascination with this subject led him to seek out places like the bedroom where Yuri Gagarian slept the night before his history-making flight into space and many other ones.  In total, “Kosmos” presents over 100 of Bartos’s photographs, rich with the incongruities of the history, science, culture, and politics of the Space Age.

Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I

  The book reveals that a subculture you never dreamt existed. Published in 2004, the “Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia” become a phenomenon of its own, spawning two further volumes and alerting a fascinated readership worldwide to the extraordinary and hermetic world of Russian criminal tattoos. David Cronenberg, for example, made regular use of the “Encyclopaedia” during the making of his 2007 movie “Eastern Promises”. The photographs, drawings and texts published in this book are part of a collection of more than 3,000 tattoos accumulated over a lifetime by a prison attendant named Danzig Baldaev. Tattoos were his gateway into a secret world in which he acted as ethnographer, recording the rituals of a closed society.
  The icons and tribal languages he documented are artful, distasteful, sexually explicit and sometimes just strange, reflecting as they do the lives and traditions of Russian convicts. Skulls, swastikas, harems of naked women, a smiling Al Capone, medieval knights in armor, daggers sheathed in blood, benign images of Christ, sweet-faced mothers and their babies, armies of tanks and a horned Lenin: these are the signs by which the people of this hidden world mark and identify themselves.

Russian Decorative Painting: Techniques & Projects Made Easy

  Priscilla Hauser, the queen of decorative painting, and Boris Grafov, a Russian-born painter whose native village is world-renowned for its art, have produced a luminous follow-up to their “Russian Folk Art Painting.” This radiant new volume features bright arrangements of flowers, fruits, and leaves, bordered in gold or silver filigree, and set off by a black lacquered surface. It’s a style with a timeless appeal, and Hauser and Grafov provide comprehensive instructions for creating ten beautiful patterns on furniture and other objects.
  All the necessary skills are explained, with plenty of advice on preparing the surface, wielding the brush, and mixing colors. Start by painting the intricate borders of wreath and linked motifs, then, make the designs more luscious with every colorful layer.

Russian Folk Belief

  A scholarly work that aims to be both broad enough in scope to satisfy upper-division undergraduates studying folk belief and narrative and detailed enough to meet the needs of graduate students in the field. Each of the seven chapters in Part 1 focuses on one aspect of Russian folk belief, such as the pagan background, Christian personages, devils and various other logical categories of the topic.
  The author’s thesis - that Russian folk belief represents a “double faith” whereby Slavic pagan beliefs are overlaid with popular Christianity - is persuasive and has analogies in other cultures. The folk narratives constituting Part 2 are translated and include a wide range of tales, from the briefly anecdotal to the more fully developed narrative, covering the various folk personages and motifs explored in Part 1.

Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards

  This stunning Russian lacquer-style package of 25 full-color cards and accompanying book combines the beauty of Russian lacquer box art with the fun of an age-old Russian gypsy method for anticipating the future and illuminating the present. The book has 50 line drawings.

The Art of the Russian Matryoshka

  Nesting one inside the other, wooden matryoshka dolls are a favorite toy in Russian homes and are collected by enthusiasts around the world. Illustrated throughout with color photographs, this volume tells the story of matryoshka production from the doll’s first appearance in the toy making center of Sergiev Posad in 1899 through its contemporary interpretations by entrepreneurial artists.
  Each step in the manufacturing process — from the cutting of logs through the final lacquering of the dolls - is described in detail.

The Russian Civil War 1918-22 (Essential Histories)

  The Russian Civil War was the most important event of its kind in the 20th century. It changed the lives of over half a billion people and dramatically shaped the political, human and economic geography of Europe, the Far East and Central Asia. Over a tempestuous four-year period the Communist Red Army and the loosely formed, anti-Bolshevist White Army battled in a war that would totally transform the vast Eurasian heartland and lead to Communist revolutions worldwide as well as the Cold War. David Bullock offers a fresh perspective on this conflict, examining the forces of both sides, the intervention of non-Russian forces, including American, Canadian, British, and Japanese troops, and the involvement of female soldiers and partisans.
  The military story of massed infantry and cavalry actions, mechanized warfare with tanks, armored cars and trains, and air combat, all along rapidly shifting fronts, is told against the incredible backdrop of political and social revolution. It is an account that is interwoven with tragedy - 30 million people died during the Civil War - and the author skillfully places the battles in the context of human suffering as he explores the cruel sacrifice of a huge population on the altar of political power.
  The absorbing text includes dramatic first-hand accounts, and is vividly illustrated with carefully selected previously unpublished photographs. This new insight into history’s most significant civil war, which began 90 years ago, will be welcomed by all students of history seeking a compact account of the conflict that brought into being a new superpower - the USSR - and its threatening ideology.