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Russia's Empires: Their Rise and Fall - from Prehistory to Putin [Paperback]

Philip Longworth
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 July 2006

Through the centuries, Russia has swung between successful expansionism, catastrophic collapse and spectacular recovery. This illuminating history traces these cycles from the late Neolithic age to Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great, and from the height of Communism to the truncated Russian Federation of today. The narrative takes in the magnificent cities of Kiev, Moscow and St Petersburg, and stretches to Alaska in the east, to the Black Sea and the Ottoman Empire in the south, to the Baltic in the west and to the Arctic Ocean in the north, asking what the future holds for Russia and her neighbours.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (13 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719565839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719565830
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Absorbing . . . Longworth develops the idea in fascinating detail (Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman)

Readers will get a good idea about the background of the current turmoil between Putin's Russia and the Chechens. (Dover Express & Folkestone Herald)

Illuminating and accessible (Western Mail)

A vivid, highly readable style . . . Russia's Empires is a brilliantly ambitious survey of the whole of Russia's imperial past. It is a battleground that has long been fought upon by historians . . . Longworth's gifts of synthesis and selection are especially well displayed . . . [He has] an eye for essentials and a deep underlying knowledge (Laurence Kelly, Literary Review)

An ambitious new work investigating Russia's dramatic history. (Diplomat)

[Longworth] asks what it is that has made four successive Russian empires simultaneously aggressive and fragile . . . All of these are excellent questions . . . Longworth focuses rightly on Russia's unique geography (Anne Applebaum, Sunday Telegraph)

A readable analysis written with a thorough understanding of imperial might. (Good Book Guide)

Longworth has a light, informed touch . . . This attractive account comes from an expert on important topics in more than one century. (Robert Service, Sunday Times)

'An original treatment of Russian history that benefits from the author's breadth of knowledge and fluent prose' (BBC History)

'[Longworth's] authority is commanding... it is insignt into the quitessence of being Russian that makes this such rewarding reading. ...Longworth understands the predictive powers of history. In Russia - and in theis book - they stand large and clear.' - Ross Leckie, The Times (Ross Leckie, The Times)

'A gripping and supremely readable book by the doyen of our historians of Russia, who truly knows how to bring this story of tsars and commissars to life. It combines shrewd analysis of Russia's unique appetite for empire with a wonderful narrative pace and fine scholarship' (Simon Sebag-Montefiore)

Book Description

'A gripping and supremely readable book by the doyen of our historians of Russia, who truly knows how to bring this story of tsars and commissars to life. It combines shrewd analysis of Russia's unique appetite for empire with a wonderful narrative pace and fine scholarship.' Simon Sebag-Montefiore

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well-balanced overview. 14 April 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first two chapters are not good - a lot of mistakes in names and facts. Starting from chapter 3 the book is really very good and very interesting - a very well-balanced overview of Russian history in the scope of Euro-Asian international relationship free of any typical "empire-of-evil" prejudice.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars shallow, biased, poorly researched and written 31 Aug 2010
By su
Free of "empire of evil" prejudice? Yes, because it is so much pro-Russian biased. There are Polish names in this book written in what would be latin transcription of those names in Russian and the book generally is so unfair towards all neighbours of Russia that it reminds of worst examples of Soviet historiography. Waste of time.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written 20 Sep 2006
By Seth J. Frantzman - Published on Amazon.com
This book covers the three or four phases of Russian imperial expansion. Central to the theme is the idea that Russians and Russia inexorably must expand at the expense of others. Theren was midievil Rus, that was destroyed by the Mongols. Then there was the Russia of Peter the Great. Then there was the Empire of the Romanovs that ended in 1917. Then there was the Soviet empire. Russia's imperial ambition was not much in her genes but caused by the vacumes at her borders, the tarters, Siberia and the weakness of Poland and lithuania. This book covers all the minority groups obsorbed by russia, with specialm attention to the Cossacks and the Caucuses as well as the many tribal peoples. Very wonderful writing gives this 2000 year history much interest and pleasure. There is one problem, the book tries to look for the roots of russia in 1000 B.C and earlier giving us a history of the Homio Sapiens Sapiens who lived there before the ice age, this information is neither pertinent or useful.

Seth J. Frantzman
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