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Russia and Ukraine

More than a decade of study of the REEE (Russia, East European, and Eurasian) region has not allowed me to articulate clear answers when friends have asked about the nature of this conflict; it is simply too big, its ideological and political threads tracing back decades and centuries. I’ve included here a number of texts that, in aggregate, begin the work of disentangling those threads for the American reader and creating a schema of the region’s complex political, social, and ethnic history that has led to this disastrous inflection point in history. In putting this together, I was frustrated with how many important works were out of stock across all distributors—no doubt owing to the understandable surge of interest—but chose to include a few of those out-of-stock titles here in the hope that they would soon be available for us or at another bookstore for those who are interested. Though you could trace the roots of this conflict to ancient Kievan Rus’ if that was your bent, for the newcomer to the region I’ve started with texts that explore the history and eventual fall of the Soviet Union, an event that Vladimir Putin views as a calamity. Ginzburg’s Into the Whirlwind takes us back to the madness of Stalin’s regime and helps us understand a world where there is no anchor of truth left in civil society and no one left alive to challenge a dictator’s disastrous policies—a condition that Putin is within a hair’s breadth of re-creating in the Russian Federation today. American diplomats Marie Yovanovich and Fiona Hill bookend the list with their memoirs, which take us to the immediate past and detail corruption at the heart of our own government as well as the governments of Russia and Ukraine, and the chaos and unmoored foreign policy of the Trump administration. In the middle are texts that address themselves to Russia’s history, to Ukraine’s, and to the nature of the complex and increasingly volatile relationship between the two. For highly readable, popular studies of the rise of Putin and modern Russia, there is no one better than Masha Gessen. Serhii Plokhy’s The Gates of Europe is a sweeping history of Ukraine through the stories of its most famous historical figures. Nobel winner Svetlana Alexievich, in nearly everything she writes, interprets the story of the Russian, Belarussian, and Ukrainian peoples at eye-level. 

Though the topic is difficult, I hope these works set you on a path to greater understanding of this beautiful, tragic, and so often understudied region of the world. 

-Tyler

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Lannan Selection) By Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen (Translator) Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781564784018
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dalkey Archive Press - June 28th, 2005

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781594634543
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 2nd, 2018

Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine By Anna Reid Cover Image
$22.79
ISBN: 9780465055890
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books - June 9th, 2015

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine By Serhii Plokhy Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781541675643
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Published: Basic Books - May 25th, 2021

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin By Masha Gessen Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781594486517
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

Lessons From The Edge: A Memoir By Marie Yovanovitch Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780358457541
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Published: Mariner Books - March 15th, 2022

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine By Anne Applebaum Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780804170888
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - September 4th, 2018

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism By Anne Applebaum Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781984899507
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Published: Anchor - June 22nd, 2021

Journey Into The Whirlwind By Eugenia Ginzburg Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780156027519
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Published: Mariner Books - November 4th, 2002

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin By Timothy Snyder Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780465031474
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available
Published: Basic Books - October 2nd, 2012

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster By Adam Higginbotham Cover Image
$20.99
ISBN: 9781501134630
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Published: Simon & Schuster - February 4th, 2020

The House with the Stained-Glass Window By Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by), Zanna Sloniowska Cover Image
$15.99
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ISBN: 9780857057143
Published: Quercus Publishing - July 19th, 2022

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia By Peter Pomerantsev Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781610396004
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Published: PublicAffairs - November 10th, 2015

A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland By Kate Brown Cover Image
$38.40
ISBN: 9780674019492
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Published: Harvard University Press - September 1st, 2005

In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas By Stanislav Aseyev, Lidia Wolanskyj (Translator) Cover Image
$23.94
ISBN: 9780674268791
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute - April 19th, 2022

There Is Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century By Fiona Hill Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780358574316
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Published: Mariner Books - October 5th, 2021

Near Abroad: Putin, the West, and the Contest Over Ukraine and the Caucasus By Gerard Toal Cover Image
$33.29
ISBN: 9780190069513
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - July 1st, 2019

Lucky Breaks By Yevgenia Belorusets, Eugene Ostashevsky (Translated by) Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811229845
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Published: New Directions - March 1st, 2022

Ukraine and Russia By Paul D'Anieri Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781108713955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Cambridge University Press - October 31st, 2019

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by) Cover Image
By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399588822
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 21st, 2017