This is a really useful book and I recommend it. I have used it on a number of trips to Italy and found it very informative. The hotels were excellent and the restaurants all served local dishes. It also really was back roads giving me a taste of the real Italy.
I found this book highly readable. It is a fascinating and colourful account. It is different from any of the other books I have read on Russia as the author spent a considerable ammount of time in the regions and not just in Moscow. It is a vivid account that explains what has really been happening in Russia in the last decade. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in modern Russia and seeks an answer to why Putin has ruled so long and why the opposition have proved so ineffective. This is not a morality tale but written with considerable sensitivity.