947. Books on Russia & East Europe
Yaffa Eliach There Once Was a World, 1998.
In the 1970s, historian and Judaic Studies scholar Yaffa Eliach was asked to work on a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. She decided the best way to honor them would be to write about the 900-year history of the Jewish shtetl in Poland so that their memory would never be lost. Most of the inhabitants of these small towns and villages were wiped out in World War II.
Orlando Figes A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, 1998.
Scholar Orlando Figes begins his history of the Russian Revolution in the years before it began. He traces the action in broad sweeps across class and geography to present what precipitated it. Examining the lives of various individuals, he highlights how the people contributed to and were victimized by the revolution.
Candace Fleming The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia, 2014.
Candace Fleming tells the story of the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family. She contrasts the luxury of the private lives of the royal family with their poverty-stricken and desperate subjects. The resulting Revolution led to the brutal ending of the Romanov dynasty.
Konstantin Ivanovich Globaschev The Truth of the Russian Revolution: The Memoirs of the Tsar’s Chief of Security and His Wife, 2017.
This memoir by General Konstantin Ivanovich Globaschev provides an eyewitness account of the two years leading up to the Russian Revolution. While the general writes of the political maneuvers and the corruption that led to the downfall of Tsarist Russia, his wife adds a more intimate account of how the war affected her family and her struggle to keep them afloat.
David Remnick Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, 1994.
American journalist David Remnick shares his eyewitness account of the final days of the Soviet Union. Taking a scholarly approach to the background research, he provides an accurate and detailed history.
Yohanana Petrovsky-Shtern The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe, 2014.
By looking at the shtetl in East Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, Petrovsky-Shtern presents the era as a highlight of Europe’s Jewish community.
Harrison E. Salisbury The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad, 1996.
Over 1.5 million people died during the Nazi siege of Leningrad from 1941 to 1944. By examining the records of the roughly equal number who survived, journalist Harrison Salisbury reveals how much the victims had to fear from Hitler without and from Stalin within.
William Taubman Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, 2004.
Nikita Khrushchev, ruler of the Soviet Union for the ten years after Joseph Stalin, sought to reform communism and ease the Cold War. But, as William Taubman shares, his efforts often had opposite effects of those he intended.
949. Books on other parts of Europe
Simon Schama The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, 1987.
Simon Schama wrote of the distinct culture of the wealthy Dutch in the 17th century. The tiny island amassed outsized fortunes, great art, philosophy and created a society of cleanliness and cheer. But beneath it all, Schama writes that it had a large current of uneasiness exacerbated by the poverty all around it.
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