Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East by Martin Sixsmith
Russia is a country of contradictions: a nation of cultural refinement and artistic originality and yet also a country that rules by 'the iron fist', with an ingrained eagerness to sacrifice the individual for the collectivist cause. In this riveting history, Martin Sixsmith shows how Russia's complex identity has been formed over a thousand years, and how it can help us understand its often baffling behaviour at home and abroad. Combining in-depth research with his personal experiences as BBC Moscow correspondent for many 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, skilfully 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, and explains the nation's seemingly split personality as the result of influences that have divided it for centuries. Accompanying a landmark BBC Radio 4 series, and marking the 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the USSR, Russia is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complex political landscape of Russia, and its unique place in the modern world.