The Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2016
Dominic Lieven’s Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia
From its inception in 2013, Waterstones has taken a special interest in the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize, supporting the Prize’s quest to promote the very best writing in English on the Russian-speaking world. The past three years have revealed works of outstanding quality - Former People, Douglas Smith’s poignant portrait of Russia’s fading Royal elite in the face of Bolshevik revolution; Catherine Merridale’s compelling dissection of the Kremlin in 2014’s Red Fortress; and latterly for 2015 The Last Empire, Serhii Plokhy’s masterful account of the Soviet Union playing out its fatal 1991 end game.
It’s our pleasure to confirm this year's winner as Dominic Lieven’s Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia.
Towards the Flame deftly charts Russia’s descent into the grim chaos of the First World War, written from the unique perspective of an author with deep family ties to the ruling elite of the time. Leiven’s intimacy and understanding of the period sets Russia at the centre stage of a truly global conflict, revealing the proper significance of her involvement and the resulting legacies that rumble on to the present.
There is little doubt that Towards the Flame will be regarded as the definitive account of its kind and Waterstones has been enormously proud to support the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize in its quest for writing of this fine standard.
An Interview With Dominic LievenWatch as Dominic Lieven distills his award-winning book into the essentials in these two short videos.
The Pushkin House Russian Book Prize Shortlist 2016
The terror and purges of Stalin's Russia in the 1930s discouraged Soviet officials from leaving documentary records let alone keeping personal diaries. A remarkable exception is the unique diary assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943.
This selection from Maisky's diary, never before published in English, grippingly documents Britain's drift to war during the 1930s, appeasement in the Munich era, negotiations leading to the signature of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Churchill's rise to power, the German invasion of Russia, and the intense debate over the opening of the second front.
Maisky was distinguished by his great sociability and access to the key players in British public life. His diary further reveals the role personal rivalries within the Kremlin played in the formulation of Soviet policy at the time.Scrupulously edited and checked against a vast range of Russian and Western archival evidence, this extraordinary narrative diary offers a fascinating revision of the events surrounding the Second World War.
This essential biography, by the author most deeply familiar with the vast archives of the Soviet era, offers an unprecedented, fine-grained portrait of Stalin the man and dictator.
Without mythologizing Stalin as either benevolent or an evil genius, Khlevniuk resolves numerous controversies about specific events in the dictator's life while assembling many hundreds of previously unknown letters, memos, reports, and diaries into a comprehensive, compelling narrative of a life that altered the course of world history.
Stalin is the most authoritative and engrossing biography of the notorious dictator ever written.
The Russian annexation of Crimea was one of the great strategic shocks of the past 25 years. For many in the West, Moscow's actions in early 2014 marked the end of illusions about cooperation, and the return to geopolitical and ideological confrontation. Russia, for so long a peripheral presence, had become the central actor in a new global drama.
In this groundbreaking book, renowned analyst Bobo Lo analyses the broader context of the crisis by examining the interplay between Russian foreign policy and an increasingly anarchic international environment.
This is a major new study of the successor states that emerged in the wake of the collapse of the great Russian, Habsburg, Iranian, Ottoman and Qing Empires and of the expansionist powers who renewed their struggle over the Eurasian borderlands through to the end of the Second World War.
Surveying the great power rivalry between the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for control over the Western and Far Eastern boundaries of Eurasia, Alfred J. Rieber provides a new framework for understanding the evolution of Soviet policy from the Revolution through to the beginning of the Cold War.
Paying particular attention to the Soviet Union, the book charts how these powers adopted similar methods to the old ruling elites to expand and consolidate their conquests, ranging from colonisation and deportation to forced assimilation, but applied them with a force that far surpassed the practices of their imperial predecessors.
The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the spread of Perestroika throughout the former Soviet bloc was a sea change in world history and two years later resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In The End of the Cold War, acclaimed Russian historian Robert Service examines precisely how that change came about.
Drawing on a vast and largely untapped range of sources, he builds a picture of the two men who spearheaded the breakthrough: Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, and Mikhail Gorbachev, last General Secretary of the Soviet Union and first and last President of the USSR.
He also analyses the role of influential players not only in America and the USSR, but throughout Eastern and Western Europe, and focuses especially on Pope John Paul II, Lech Watesa and Vaclav Havel. Authoritative, compelling and meticulously researched, this is political history at its best.
The decision to go to war in 1914 had catastrophic consequences for Russia. The result was revolution, civil war and famine in 1917-20, followed by decades of communist rule.
Dominic Lieven's powerful and original book, based on exhaustive and unprecedented study in Russian and many other foreign archives, explains why this suicidal decision was made and explores the world of the men who made it, thereby consigning their entire class to death or exile and making their country the victim of a uniquely terrible political experiment under Lenin and Stalin.
Dominic Lieven is a Senior Research Fellow of Trinity College,Cambridge University, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His book Russia Against Napoleon (Penguin) won the Wolfson Prize for History and the Prize of the Fondation Napoleon for the best foreign work on the Napoleonic era.
Previous Prize Winners
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