The Secret Wife

The Secret WifeA Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries

Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914: Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance—and their lives—in danger

2016: Kitty Fisher escapes to her great grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long buried family secret

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies.

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Categories: russian-history

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear CatastropheA Chernobyl survivor and award winning historian mercilessly chronicles the absurdities of the Soviet system in this vividly empathetic account of the worst nuclear accident in history (The Wall Street Journal).On the morning of April 26, 1986, Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill.In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy draws on new sources to tell the dramatic stories of the firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who heroically extinguished the nuclear inferno. He lays bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of the Communist party rule, the regime's control over scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else.Today, the risk of another Chernobyl looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world. A moving and definitive account, Chernobyl is also an urgent call to action.

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Categories: russian-history

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed RussiaThe essential journalist and bestselling biographer of Vladimir Putin reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.

Award winning journalist Masha Gessen’s understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled. In The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own–as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.

Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

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Categories: russian-history

The Lost Pianos of Siberia

The Lost Pianos of SiberiaFrom acclaimed journalist Sophy Roberts, a journey through one of the harshest landscapes on earth — where music reveals the deep humanity and the rich history of Siberia

Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.

Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos — grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, as well as humble, Soviet made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the westernizing influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood.

How these pianos travelled into this snow bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers, and exiles. Siberian pianos have accomplished extraordinary feats, from the instrument that Maria Volkonsky, wife of an exiled Decemberist revolutionary, used to spread music east of the Urals, to those that brought reprieve to the Soviet Gulag. That these instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far flung villages is nothing less than a miracle.

The Lost Pianos of Siberia is largely a story of music in this fascinating place, following Roberts on a three year adventure as she tracks a number of different instruments to find one whose history is definitively Siberian. Her journey reveals a desolate land inhabited by wild tigers and deeply shaped by its dark history, yet one that is also profoundly beautiful — and peppered with pianos.

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Categories: russian-history

1983: The World at the Brink

1983: The World at the BrinkIn 1983 cinema audiences flocked to see the latest James Bond movie in which Roger Moore defeats a Soviet general who attempts to launch a nuclear first strike against the West. Like all Bond movies, audiences believed that the storyline was entirely fictional if not totally crazy. Little did they know that while they munched on their popcorn, the Soviets were indeed preparing to launch a real nuclear attack on the West. 1983 was a dangerous year. In the United States, President Reagan increased defence spending and launched the 'Star Wars' Strategic Defence Initiative. When a Soviet plane shot down a Korean civilian jet, he described it as 'a crime against humanity'. Moscow was growing increasingly concerned about America's language and behaviour. Would they attack? The temperature was rising, fast.By November, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, a life long KGB man, had his finger on the nuclear button. Had the US made a move, it would have meant global nuclear Armageddon.It was only the following year that the US which had never considered a first strike came to learn just how terrified the Soviet Union was, and just how close to the brink the world had come.In 1983, Taylor Downing draws on previously unpublished interviews, and over a thousand pages of secret documents that have recently been released by Washington to tell the gripping, astonishing story that was almost the end of the world. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

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Categories: russian-history

Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West

Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the WestInterference in American elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. But how and why did all this come about, and who has orchestrated it?

In Putin’s People, the investigative journalist and former Moscow correspondent Catherine Belton reveals the untold story of how Vladimir Putin and the small group of KGB men surrounding him rose to power and looted their country. Delving deep into the workings of Putin’s Kremlin, Belton accesses key inside players to reveal how Putin replaced the freewheeling tycoons of the Yeltsin era with a new generation of loyal oligarchs, who in turn subverted Russia’s economy and legal system and extended the Kremlin's reach into the United States and Europe. The result is a chilling and revelatory exposé of the KGB’s revanche―a story that begins in the murk of the Soviet collapse, when networks of operatives were able to siphon billions of dollars out of state enterprises and move their spoils into the West. Putin and his allies subsequently completed the agenda, reasserting Russian power while taking control of the economy for themselves, suppressing independent voices, and launching covert influence operations abroad.

Ranging from Moscow and London to Switzerland and Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach―and assembling a colorful cast of characters to match―Putin’s People is the definitive account of how hopes for the new Russia went astray, with stark consequences for its inhabitants and, increasingly, the world.

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Categories: russian-history

The Lost Daughter

The Lost DaughterIf you loved I AM ANASTASIA you won't want to miss this novel about her sister, Grand Duchess Maria. What really happened to this lost Romanov daughter? A new novel perfect for anyone curious about Anastasia, Maria, and the other lost Romanov daughters, by the author of THE SECRET WIFE.

1918: Pretty, vivacious Grand Duchess Maria Romanov, the nineteen year old daughter of the fallen Tsar Nicholas II, lives with her family in suffocating isolation, a far cry from their once glittering royal household. Her days are a combination of endless boredom and paralyzing fear; her only respite are clandestine flirtations with a few of the guards imprisoning the family—never realizing her innocent actions could mean the difference between life and death

1973: When Val Doyle hears her father’s end of life confession, “I didn’t want to kill her,” she’s stunned. So, she begins a search for the truth—about his words and her past. The clues she discovers are baffling—a jewel encrusted box that won’t open and a camera with its film intact. What she finds out pulls Val into one of the world’s greatest mysteries—what truly happened to the Grand Duchess Maria?

 

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Categories: russian-history

The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped America Win the Cold War

The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped America Win the Cold WarFrom the spymaster and inspiration for the movie Argo: how a group of brilliant but under supported CIA operatives developed breakthrough spy tactics that helped turn the tide of the Cold War

Antonio Mendez arrived in Moscow in 1976, at one of the most dangerous moments in the Cold War. Soviets kept files on all foreigners, studied their patterns, tapped their phones, and even planted listening devices within the US Embassy. In short, intelligence work was effectively impossible. The Soviet threat loomed larger than ever.

The Moscow Rules tells the story of the intelligence breakthrough that turned the odds in America's favor. As Chief of Disguise and Authentication, Mendez was instrumental in creating and honing a series of tactics that allowed officers to finally get one step ahead of the KGB. These techniques included everything from elaborate, Hollywood inspired identity swaps, to deception or evasion techniques, to mundane document forgery. With these new guidelines in place, and with an armory of new gadgets perfected by the Office of Technical Services including miniature cameras, suitcase release body doubles, and wall repelling mechanisms, the CIA managed to gain a foothold in Moscow and pull off some of the greatest intelligence operations in the history of espionage.

As America is again confronted by the threat of Russian disinformation, the dramatic inside story of how we defeated our once and future enemy is as timely as ever.

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Categories: russian-history

Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire

Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet EmpirePresident Reagan's dramatic battle to win the Cold War is revealed as never before by the #1 bestselling author and award winning anchor of the #1 rated Special Report with Bret Baier.

An instant classic, if not the finest book to date on Ronald Reagan.” — Jay Winik

Moscow, 1988: 1,000 miles behind the Iron Curtain, Ronald Reagan stood for freedom and confronted the Soviet empire. 

In his acclaimed bestseller Three Days in January, Bret Baier illuminated the extraordinary leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower at the dawn of the Cold War. Now in his highly anticipated new history, Three Days in Moscow, Baier explores the dramatic endgame of America’s long struggle with the Soviet Union and President Ronald Reagan’s central role in shaping the world we live in today.

On May 31, 1988, Reagan stood on Russian soil and addressed a packed audience at Moscow State University, delivering a remarkable—yet now largely forgotten—speech that capped his first visit to the Soviet capital. This fourth in a series of summits between Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, was a dramatic coda to their tireless efforts to reduce the nuclear threat. More than that, Reagan viewed it as “a grand historical moment”: an opportunity to light a path for the Soviet people—toward freedom, human rights, and a future he told them they could embrace if they chose. It was the first time an American president had given an address about human rights on Russian soil. Reagan had once called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Now, saying that depiction was from “another time,” he beckoned the Soviets to join him in a new vision of the future. The importance of Reagan’s Moscow speech was largely overlooked at the time, but the new world he spoke of was fast approaching; the following year, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, leaving the United States the sole superpower on the world stage.

Today, the end of the Cold War is perhaps the defining historical moment of the past half century, and must be understood if we are to make sense of America’s current place in the world, amid the re emergence of US Russian tensions during Vladimir Putin’s tenure. Using Reagan’s three days in Moscow to tell the larger story of the president’s critical and often misunderstood role in orchestrating a successful, peaceful ending to the Cold War, Baier illuminates the character of one of our nation’s most venerated leaders—and reveals the unique qualities that allowed him to succeed in forming an alliance for peace with the Soviet Union, when his predecessors had fallen short.

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Categories: russian-history

Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster

Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear DisasterAt 01:23:40 on April 26th 1986, Alexander Akimov pressed the emergency shutdown button at Chernobyl’s fourth nuclear reactor. It was an act that forced the permanent evacuation of a city, killed thousands and crippled the Soviet Union. The event spawned decades of conflicting, exaggerated and inaccurate stories. This book, the result of five years of research, presents an accessible but comprehensive account of what really happened. From the desperate fight to prevent a burning reactor core from irradiating eastern Europe, to the self sacrifice of the heroic men who entered fields of radiation so strong that machines wouldn’t work, to the surprising truth about the legendary ‘Chernobyl divers’, all the way through to the USSR’s final show trial. The historical narrative is interwoven with a story of the author’s own spontaneous journey to Ukraine’s still abandoned city of Pripyat and the wider Chernobyl Zone. Complete with over 45 pages of photographs of modern day Pripyat and technical diagrams of the power station, Chernobyl 01:23:40 is a fascinating new account of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

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Categories: russian-history

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Kotkin continues his definitive biography of Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror through to the coming of the conflict with Hitler's Germany that is the signal event of modern world history.

When we left Stalin at the end of Stalin: Paradoxes of Power: 1878 1928, it was 1928, and he had finally climbed the mountaintop and achieved dictatorial power of the Soviet empire. The vastest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took. What it took, or what Stalin believed it took, was the most relentless campaign of shock industrialization the world has ever seen. This is the story of the five year plans, the new factory towns, and the integration of an entire system of penal labor into the larger economy. With the Great Depression throwing global capital into crisis, the Soviet Union's New Man looked like nothing so much as the man of the future. As the shadows of the 30's deepen, Stalin's drive to militarize Soviet society takes on increasing urgency, and the ambition of Nazi Germany becomes the predominant geopolitical reality he faces when Hitler claims that communism is a global Judeo Bolshevik conspiracy to bring the Slavic race to power. But just because they're out to get you doesn't mean you're not paranoid. Stalin's paranoia is increasingly one of the most horrible facts of life for his entire country. Stalin's obsessions drive him to violently purge almost a million people, including military leadership, diplomatic corps and intelligence apparatus, to say nothing of a generation of artistic talent. And then came the pact that shocked the world, and demoralized leftists everywhere: Stalin's pact with Hitler in 1939, the carve up of Poland, and Stalin's utter inability to see Hitler's build up to the invasion of the USSR. Yet for all that, in just 12 years of total power, Stalin has taken this country from a peasant economy to a formidable modern war machine that rivaled anything else in the world. When the invasion came, Stalin wasn't ready, but his country would prove to be prepared. That is a dimension of the Stalin story that has never adequately been reckoned with before, and it looms large here. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler: 1929 1941 is, like its predecessor, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin's desk. It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of its field, and in the biographer's art.

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Categories: russian-history