“A History of Modern Russia” by Robert Service

“A History of Modern Russia” by Robert ServiceA History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Vladimir Puti by Robert Service
Published: 2005 by Harvard University Press
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 659
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Since I’ve focused primarily on fiction thus far, I thought it might be nice to review one of my favorite nonfiction books.  Service does a fantastic job providing a recap of 20th century Russian/Soviet history that is both highly readable and well-researched.

One of the biggest problems with history books about the Soviet era is that almost all of them are heavily biased, either demonizing or glorifying the Soviet Union.  Service does neither, but instead takes a cynical view about everything.  He is able to provide a rather objective look at the strengths and weaknesses of various figures, while realizing that we’re all adults and don’t need to know that the evil commies are coming to get us.

As the book is only around 500 pages, there are of course a lot of things that are glossed over.  At the same time, Service did a good job at highlighting major events.  The book covers late imperial Russia through around 1994, but there isn’t much coverage of anything after the fall of the Soviet Union.  I would personally liked to see more of that, and how one ties the Russia of today to it’s historical roots.  However, that wasn’t the point of the book.  I’d recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning more about Russian history.

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2 comments

  1. My parents have a monster three part book on Russian history that makes you go all limp the moment you look at it. I think at least 3000 pages on Bible thin paper. I was always interested. This sounds way more accessible and since you say it’s good, I’m quite tempted.