'Wise and thorough' Spectator
'Brisk and readable … very valuable' Financial Times
'He is an engaging guide … and writes with the same flair demonstrated in his previous bestseller Afgantsy' Sunday Telegraph
'A scholarly yet highly readable gallop through the last 1000 years of Russian history … To understand this tormented nation, you can do no better than read this illuminating portrait' Jonathan Dimbleby
With its attack on Ukraine, Russia's future seems almost as uncertain as its past. The largest country in the world – with the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons – has been known over the past thousand years as Rus, Muscovy, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Thirty years ago it was reinvented as the Russian Federation.
Russia is not an enigma but its past is violent, tragic, sometimes glorious, and certainly complicated. Like the rest of us, the Russians constantly rewrite their history. They too omit episodes of national disgrace in favour of patriotic anecdotes, sometimes more rooted in myth than reality.
Expert and former ambassador Rodric Braithwaite unpicks fact from fiction to discover what lies at the root of the Russian story, more relevant to the rest of the world now than ever before.