By Philip Longworth. From Booklist--"Territorial expansion and contraction are a salient theme in Russian history, and experienced historian Longworth initiates matters with a description of Russia's climatic extremities and the vagueness of its geographical limits, which have affected empires and peoples in the Russian lands. He hits his narrative stride with Kievan Rus, the first Russian state and cultural vessel of Orthodox Christianity. In terminal decline when extinguished by Mongolian hordes in the 1200s, Kiev was replaced by Mongol-ruled Russian satraps, one of which, the principality of Moscow, acquired preeminence and reclaimed independence. Why is one of the more interesting problems in all Russian history. Longworth readably recounts the role canny and aggressive rulers had in Moscow's rise. And after tracking the dynastic turmoil from which the Romanovs emerged in 1613, Longworth proceeds through Russia's subsequent enlargement with an eye on nationalities enveloped by the process. Their reconciliation or resistance to membership in an empire, punctuated by collapses in 1917 and 1991, informs the balance of Longworth's survey. A highly qualified candidate for the library's national-history shelf."--Gilbert Taylor. St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (2006), English, Hardcover: 416 pages.
“A gripping and supremely readable book by the doyen of our historians of Russia, who truly knows how to bring this story of tsars and commissars to life. It combines shrewd analysis of Russia’s unique appetite for empire with a wonderful narrative pace and fine scholarship.”--Simon Sebag-Montefiore
“. . . Russia is a brilliantly ambitious survey of the whole of Russia’s imperial past. It is a battleground that has long been fought upon by historians. . . . Longworth’s gifts of synthesis and selection are especially well displayed. . . . [He has] an eye for essentials and a deep underlying knowledge.”--Lawrence Kelly, Literary Review
“This is not a history of the Soviet Empire or of the Romanov Empire but a history of the expansion and contraction of four Russian empires. . . . This approach . . . tackle[s] a weakness in English-speakers whose countries . . . have expanded but . . . have remained static for some time. Russia is an exception to the rule and one needs to understand this in order to make sense of the current state of Russia today. . . . Where this excellent book excels is in its perspective because . . . what we now have is the end of one peculiarly Russian cycle, not the end of Russian history.”--Contemporary Review