Exploring Russian History and Politics

It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing about Russia. So this might be just the time to educate yourself about the history of the country dominating American conversations, with these riveting listens.

The Future Is History
Author: Masha Gessen
Read By: Masha Gessen

In this title, winner of this year’s National Book Award for nonfiction, journalist Masha Gessen reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia has surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.
Listen to an excerpt The Future Is History

The House of the Dead
Author: Daniel Beer
Read By: Arthur Morey

From the beginning of the nineteenth century until the Russian Revolution, the tsars exiled more than one million prisoners and their families beyond the Ural Mountains to Siberia. Daniel Beer illuminates the brutal realities of this inhuman system and the tragic and inspiring fates of those who endured it.
Listen to an excerpt The House of the Dead

Lenin

Victor Sebestyen’s riveting biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin—the first major biography in English in nearly two decades—is not only a political examination of one of the most important historical figures of the twentieth century but also a fascinating portrait of Lenin the man.
Listen to an excerpt Lenin

Red Famine

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize‒winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin’s greatest crimes. In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization—in effect a second Russian revolution—which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history.
Listen to an excerpt Red Famine

The Romanovs

The 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?
Listen to an excerpt The Romanovs

Secondhand Time

In Secondhand Time, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake.
Listen to an excerpt Secondhand Time