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Best Russian History Books You Should Read

While there are many courses and tutorials online, learning from a book is still one of the best ways to greatly improve your skills. Below I have selected top Russian History books.

1. A Concise History of Russia (Cambridge Concise Histories) (2011)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadAccessible to students, tourists, and general readers alike, this book provides a broad overview of Russian history since the ninth century. Paul Bushkovitch emphasizes the enormous changes in the understanding of Russian history resulting from the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, new material has come to light on the history of the Soviet era, providing new conceptions of Russia’s pre-revolutionary past. The book traces not only the political history of Russia, but also developments in its literature, art, and science. Bushkovitch describes well-known…
Author(s): Paul Bushkovitch

2. Russian History: A Captivating Guide to the History of Russia, Including Events Such as the Mongol Invasion, the Napoleonic Invasion, Reforms of Peter the Great, the Fall of the Soviet Union, and More (2018)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadRussia, or the Russian Federation as it is officially known, is the world’s largest country and covers almost a sixth of the global landmass. The country is often associated with harsh climates and autocratic government. The shadow of communism and the Cold War continues to influence global attitudes towards Russia. This new captivating history book serves as an overview of Russian history over the span of more than a millennium, from the foundation of the Russian state by the Viking prince Rurik in 862 AD until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991….
Author(s): Captivating History

3. The Romanovs: 1613-1918 (2017)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadThe Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence, and wild…
Author(s): Simon Sebag Montefiore

4. History of Russia: A Captivating Guide to Russian History, Ivan the Terrible, The Russian Revolution and Cambridge Five (2019)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadRussia, or the Russian Federation as it is officially known, is the world’s largest country and covers almost a sixth of the global landmass. The country is often associated with harsh climates and autocratic government. The shadow of communism and the Cold War continues to influence global attitudes towards Russia. This new captivating history book serves as an overview of Russian history over the span of more than a millennium, from the foundation of the Russian state by the Viking prince Rurik in 862 AD until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991….
Author(s): Captivating History

5. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 (1998)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadIt is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People’s Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes presents a panorama of Russian society on the eve of that revolution, and then narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased. Within the broad stokes of war and revolution are miniature histories of…
Author(s): Orlando Figes

6. Gulag: A History (2004)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadIn this magisterial and acclaimed history, Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag, from its origins in the Russian Revolution, through its expansion under Stalin, to its collapse in the era of glasnost. The Gulag–a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners–was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. Applebaum intimately re-creates what life was like in the camps and links them to the larger history of the Soviet…
Author(s): Anne Applebaum

7. A History of Russia (2018)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadNow extensively revised in this ninth edition, A History of Russia covers the entire span of the country’s history, from ancient times to the post-communist present. Keeping with the hallmark of the text, Riasanovsky and Steinberg examine all aspects of Russia’s history–political, international, military, economic, social, and cultural–with a commitment to objectivity, fairness, and balance, and to reflecting recent research and new trends in scholarly interpretation. In the ninth edition, this includes expanded attention to the experiences of ordinary men and women and to…
Author(s): Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Mark D. Steinberg

8. Russian History: A Very Short Introduction (2012)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadRussia’s sheer size has made it difficult to mobilize resources and to govern effectively, especially given its harsh climate, vast and vulnerable borders, and the diversity of its people. In this Very Short Introduction, Geoffrey Hosking discusses all aspects of Russian history, from the struggle by the state to control society to the transformation of the nation into a multi-ethnic empire, Russia’s relations with the West, and the post-Soviet era. Hosking, a leading international authority, examines Russian history in an impartial way, arguing…
Author(s): Geoffrey Hosking

9. Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (2003)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadBeginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg and culminating with the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia itself–its character, spiritual essence, and destiny. Skillfully interweaving the great works–by Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall–with folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and all the customs of daily life, Figes reveals the spirit of “Russianness” as rich and uplifting, complex and contradictory–and more lasting than any Russian ruler or state….
Author(s): Orlando Figes

10. Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East (2013)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadAs the BBC Moscow correspondent for almost twenty years, Sixsmith tells Russia’s full and fascinating story, from its foundation in the last years of the tenth century to the first years of the twenty-first, skillfully tracing the conundrums of modern Russia to their roots in its troubled past. Covering politics, music, literature and art, he explores the myths Russians have created from their history. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complex political…
Author(s): Martin Sixsmith

11. Advanced Russian Through History (2007)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadAdvanced Russian Through History is a Russian reader for intermediate and advanced students of Russian and heritage learners of Russian.  The book consists of 36 chapters focusing on the history of Russia, from Kievan Rus’ to the post-Soviet era.  Each chapter features a written text and web-based learning tasks designed to promote students’ abilities to understand and produce argument in the style of scholarly discourse, both in speech and in writing….
Author(s): Benjamin Rifkin , Olga Kagan, et al.

12. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2019)

Best Russian History Books You Should Read“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation’s communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union’s top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped…
Author(s): Ben Macintyre

13. Russia and the Russians: A History, Second Edition (2011)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadHosking follows the country’s history from the Slavs’ first emergence in the historical record in the sixth century C.E. 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….
Author(s): Geoffrey Hosking

14. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident (Historical Nonfiction Bestseller, True Story Book of Survival) (2014)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadThe mystery of Dead Mountain: In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the mountain climbing incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over the true stories and what really happened.As gripping and…
Author(s): Donnie Eichar

15. A Concise History of the Russian Revolution (1996)

Best Russian History Books You Should ReadRichard Pipes’s authoritative history of the “violent and disruptive acts” that created the first modern totalitarian regime portrays the crisis at the heart of the tsarist empire. Drawing on archival materials newly released in Russia, he chronicles the upheaval that began as a conservative revolt but was soon captured by messianic intellectuals intent not merely on reforming Russia but on remaking the world. He provides fresh accounts of the revolution’s personalities and policies, crises, and cruelties, from the murder of the royal family through civil war, famine, and state terror. Brilliantly and…
Author(s): Richard Pipes

Best Russian History Books You Should Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some russian history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Re-examining the history of the Russian economy: a new analytic tool from field theory

Author(s): Jeffrey Kenneth Hass
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2240903

Soviet Russians under Nazi Occupation: Fragile Loyalties in World War II

Author(s): Johannes Due Enstad
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Year: 2018, Size: 15 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2242114

The Rise and Fall of Russia’s Far Eastern Republic, 1905–1922: Nationalisms, Imperialisms, and Regionalisms in and after the Russian Empire

Author(s): Ivan Sablin
Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2018, Size: 18 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2260088

A history of Russian law : from ancient times to the Council Code (Ulozhenie) of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich of 1649

Author(s): Ferdinand J. M. Feldbrugge
Publisher: Brill, Year: 2018, Size: 6 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2283450

Eurasian Environments: Nature and Ecology in Imperial Russian and Soviet History

Author(s): Nicholas Breyfogle
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press, Year: 2018, Size: 29 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2307696

A History of Russian Literature

Author(s): Andrew Kahn; Mark Lipovetsky; Irina Reyfman; Stephanie Sandler
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA, Year: 2018, Size: 11 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2329829

Imagining Russian Regions: Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia

Author(s): Susan Smith-Peter
Publisher: Brill, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2337510

Celebrating Suprematism: New Approaches to the Art of Kazimir Malevich

Author(s): Christina Lodder (Editor)
Publisher: Brill, Year: 2018, Size: 15 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2393029

The Russian Empire, 1450-1801

Author(s): Nancy Shields Kollmann
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Year: 2017, Size: 17 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1629780

Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are really best-sellers according to Washington Post, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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