100 books like Omon Ra

By Victor Pelevin, Andrew Bromfield,

Here are 100 books that Omon Ra fans have personally recommended if you like Omon Ra. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation

Monica Black Author Of A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany

From my list on for historians who wish they were anthropologists.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by the things people do and the reasons they give for doing them. That people also do things in culturally specific ways and that their culturally specific ways of doing things are related to their culturally specific ideas about what makes sense and what does not inspires in me a sense of awe. As a professor and historian, thinking anthropologically has always been an important tool, because it helps me look for the hidden, cultural logics that guided the behavior of people in history. It helps me ask different questions. And it sharpens my sense of humility for the fundamental unknowability of this world we call home.

Monica's book list on for historians who wish they were anthropologists

Monica Black Why did Monica love this book?

Alexei Yurchak was part of the last Soviet generation—the last citizens born in the USSR who also lived through its collapse as adults. As the title suggests, Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More is a profound and poetic work about truth and what we come to accept as real. Yurchak wants to explain the paradox that, while Soviet people knew by the 1970s that their government was telling them almost nothing but untruths, they were still shocked to their core by their country’s demise. What I loved most about the book was Yurchak’s descriptions of ordinary life among his generation (their intriguing taste for the operatic qualities of metal, the elaborate public pranks they staged, the way they treated life like performance art). With pathos and humor in equal measure, Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More paints a brilliant portrait of a world that millions of…

By Alexei Yurchak,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soviet socialism was based on paradoxes that were revealed by the peculiar experience of its collapse. To the people who lived in that system the collapse seemed both completely unexpected and completely unsurprising. At the moment of collapse it suddenly became obvious that Soviet life had always seemed simultaneously eternal and stagnating, vigorous and ailing, bleak and full of promise. Although these characteristics may appear mutually exclusive, in fact they were mutually constitutive. This book explores the paradoxes of Soviet life during the period of "late socialism" (1960s-1980s) through the eyes of the last Soviet generation. Focusing on the major…


Book cover of Good Stalin

Daniel Treisman Author Of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

From my list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

Who am I?

Daniel Treisman is an expert on post-Soviet Russia, whose articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and CNN.com, among other publications. A professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, he is the founder of the Russia Political Insight project, an international collaboration to analyze Kremlin decision-making. He is the author of The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev and editor of The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia.  

Daniel's book list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev

Daniel Treisman Why did Daniel love this book?

The Brezhnev era was when the Soviet elite decided not to come to terms with Stalin. This “fictional” memoir by one of Russia’s most interesting living writers is a penetrating meditation on fathers and sons, set against the backdrop of post-War Moscow. Erofeyev senior was Stalin’s official French interpreter, a believer in world revolution, avid tennis player, and tender parent. Erofeyev junior was a literary enfant terrible, who, by helping edit an almanac of underground writing in 1979, ended his father’s diplomatic career. The book is a beautifully crafted window into the personal and political of late communism.

By Victor Erofeyev,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Stalin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The novel Good Stalin is inspired by Erofeev's experience growing up amidst the Soviet political hierarchy. His father, a staunch Stalinist who has dedicated his life and soul to the party, begins as Stalin's personal interpreter, and rises rapidly to the top of the political ladder and into the leader's inner circle. The book reflects the family's prestigious - and yet precarious - position as members of the nomenklatura. In one memorable scene, the main character Victor recalls how he would walk past the Kremlin as a child and comment to friends, "that's where my father works - he and…


Book cover of The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov

Daniel Treisman Author Of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

From my list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

Who am I?

Daniel Treisman is an expert on post-Soviet Russia, whose articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and CNN.com, among other publications. A professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, he is the founder of the Russia Political Insight project, an international collaboration to analyze Kremlin decision-making. He is the author of The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev and editor of The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia.  

Daniel's book list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev

Daniel Treisman Why did Daniel love this book?

The emergence of a dissident movement and the KGB’s efforts to control it were one of the dramas of the Brezhnev era. What better way to read the history than through the agency’s reports on the period’s premier dissident? Andrei Sakharov, nuclear physicist and “Domestic Enemy Number One,” survived the mind games and isolation, emerging to lead the campaign for memory in the late 1980s as Gorbachev loosened up. The book is fascinating on the fumbling efforts of Politburo gerontocrats, who often seem confused and outplayed, as well as on the circumlocutions and ideological distortions of a security agency determined to blur the true character of its operations.  

By Joshua Rubenstein, Alexander Gribanov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989), a brilliant physicist and the principal designer of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, later became a human rights activist and-as a result-a source of profound irritation to the Kremlin. This book publishes for the first time ever KGB files on Sakharov that became available during Boris Yeltsin's presidency. The documents reveal the untold story of KGB surveillance of Sakharov from 1968 until his death in 1989 and of the regime's efforts to intimidate and silence him. The disturbing archival materials show the KGB to have had a profound lack of understanding of the spiritual and moral nature of…


Book cover of The Suitcase

Daniel Treisman Author Of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

From my list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

Who am I?

Daniel Treisman is an expert on post-Soviet Russia, whose articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and CNN.com, among other publications. A professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, he is the founder of the Russia Political Insight project, an international collaboration to analyze Kremlin decision-making. He is the author of The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev and editor of The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia.  

Daniel's book list on the Soviet Union under Brezhnev

Daniel Treisman Why did Daniel love this book?

Another literary take on the era that’s impossible to leave out. The suitcase of the title is the one Dovlatov took into exile when he rode the wave of Jewish emigration to New York in 1979. On the bottom of the suitcase, a picture of Karl Marx; on the inside lid, a photograph of Joseph Brodsky—and in between the debris of a life lived between the dual myths of revolution and poetry. Each story in the collection takes off from a different item in the suitcase—three pairs of Finnish stockings, a pair of driving gloves, a prison guard’s belt… Dovlatov is one of those authors who is hard to imagine writing in any other period—his style, mentality, humor, and turn of phrase are so perfectly attuned to time and place. Whimsical, dark, and often funny.

By Sergei Dovlatov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Suitcase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Several years after emigrating from the USSR, the author discovers the battered suitcase he had brought with him gathering dust at the back of a wardrobe. As he opens the suitcase, the items he finds inside take on a riotously funny life of their own as Dovlatov inventories the circumstances under which he acquired them. A poplin shirt evokes a story of courtship and marriage, a pair of boots calls up the hilarious conclusion to an official banquet, two pea-green crepe socks bring back memories of his attempt to become a black-market racketeer, while a double-breasted suit reminds him of…


Book cover of The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling

Slava Gerovitch Author Of Soviet Space Mythologies: Public Images, Private Memories, and the Making of a Cultural Identity (Russian and East European Studies)

From my list on astronauts and cosmonauts.

Who am I?

My interest in space history began with stamp collecting and continued much later with visits to Russian archives, Star City, and aerospace companies, and interviews with cosmonauts and space engineers, who often told their personal stories for the first time. As a historian of science and technology teaching at MIT, I was especially interested in cases where technology and society intertwined: cosmonauts and engineers lobbied politicians with competing agendas, personal rivalries tore apart ambitious projects, and pervasive secrecy perpetuated public myths and private counter-myths. My digging into tensions and arguments that shaped the Soviet space program resulted in two books, Soviet Space Mythologies and Voices of the Soviet Space Program.

Slava's book list on astronauts and cosmonauts

Slava Gerovitch Why did Slava love this book?

This book explores the Soviet efforts to turn a living person into a propaganda icon that would embody and transmit communist values around the world. While Gagarin’s open and warm personality did resonate with wide audiences, he felt increasingly uneasy about his assigned public role, which forced him to lie, distort, and pretend. 

I find this well-documented story an excellent illustration of the Soviet use of cosmonauts in the propaganda machine: to function effectively as propaganda tools, the cosmonauts had to fulfill ritual public functions at the expense of training for new flights, and to swap their professional identity for the role of an ideologically engaged public speaker.

By Andrew L. Jenks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Let's go!" With that, the boyish, grinning Yuri Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961, becoming the first human being to exit Earth's orbit. The twenty-seven-year-old lieutenant colonel departed for the stars from within the shadowy world of the Soviet military-industrial complex. Barbed wires, no-entry placards, armed guards, false identities, mendacious maps, and a myriad of secret signs had hidden Gagarin from prying outsiders-not even his friends or family knew what he had been up to. Coming less than four years after the Russians launched Sputnik into orbit, Gagarin's voyage was cause for another round of capitalist shock and…


Book cover of Spacefarers: Images of Astronauts and Cosmonauts in the Heroic Era of Spaceflight

Slava Gerovitch Author Of Soviet Space Mythologies: Public Images, Private Memories, and the Making of a Cultural Identity (Russian and East European Studies)

From my list on astronauts and cosmonauts.

Who am I?

My interest in space history began with stamp collecting and continued much later with visits to Russian archives, Star City, and aerospace companies, and interviews with cosmonauts and space engineers, who often told their personal stories for the first time. As a historian of science and technology teaching at MIT, I was especially interested in cases where technology and society intertwined: cosmonauts and engineers lobbied politicians with competing agendas, personal rivalries tore apart ambitious projects, and pervasive secrecy perpetuated public myths and private counter-myths. My digging into tensions and arguments that shaped the Soviet space program resulted in two books, Soviet Space Mythologies and Voices of the Soviet Space Program.

Slava's book list on astronauts and cosmonauts

Slava Gerovitch Why did Slava love this book?

I was fascinated by how much cultural representations of astronauts and cosmonauts reveal about our societies in this rich and diverse volume. US pop culture is analyzed through astronaut gender representations in TV series, different portrayals of pilots-astronauts and scientists-astronauts in the movies, and the use of American frontier mythology tropes. Comparing representations of spacefarers in different national cultures shows that even glossy magazines carried an ideological message: Soviets traced their achievements to the advantages of socialism, while Americans touted liberty and openness. Finally, cultural attitudes are revealed by media attention to the changing professional, gender, and race demographics of the astronaut corps in the 1980s. In particular, the media treated women astronauts differently from men by emphasizing their feminine traits and family life instead of focusing on space work.

By Michael J. Neufeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spacefarers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The recent 50th anniversaries of the first human spaceflights by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the 30th anniversary of the launching of the first U.S. Space Shuttle mission, have again brought to mind the pioneering accomplishments of the first quarter century of humans in space. Historians, political scientists and others have extensively examined the technical, programmatic and political history of human spaceflight from the 1960s to the 1980s, but work is only beginning on the social and cultural history of the pioneering era. One rapidly developing area of recent scholarship is the examination of the images of…


Book cover of Full Moon

Michael Soluri Author Of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

From my list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond.

Who am I?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Michael's book list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Michael Soluri Why did Michael love this book?

As explorers carrying cameras, the Gemini and Apollo astronauts (1965-72) were like the pioneer photographers of the 19th century who, with their cameras, responded to the unknowns of the American West. These astronauts, however, were responding to the new and unexplored by photographing their experiences inside their spacecraft and outside in the vacuum of space. During the late 90s the photographer Michael Light gained access to NASA’s Apollo-era photo archive and made the first drum-scanned digital files from perfect copies of the original flight films. Light’s artful editing and juxtaposition of superbly reproduced full-page black and white, and color images creates a cinematic-like journey to the moon and back. In the annals of published space photography, there are very few well-designed books as timeless.

By Michael Light, Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Full Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most thrilling of all journeys--the missions of the Apollo astronauts to the surface of the Moon and back--yielded 32,000 extraordinarily beautiful photographs, the record of a unique human achievement. Until recently, only a handful of these photographs had been released for publication; but now, for the first time, NASA has allowed a selection of the master negatives and transparencies to be scanned electronically, rendering the sharpest images of space that we have ever seen. Michael Light has woven 129 of these stunningly clear images into a single composite voyage, a narrative of breathtaking immediacy and authenticity that begins with…


Book cover of Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

David Lee Summers Author Of Vampires of the Scarlet Order

From my list on vampires you want to root for.

Who am I?

I first started reading vampire stories when I worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory in the 1990s. One of my co-workers suggested that we were the vampires of the mountain because we were only seen between sunset and sunrise. She encouraged me to read Anne Rice, whose work gave me a taste for heroic vampires. A while later, I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, known as the City of Crosses. Another friend suggested I write a story asking what a vampire would make of such a thing. That became an early chapter in Vampires of the Scarlet Order.

David's book list on vampires you want to root for

David Lee Summers Why did David love this book?

In this Japanese light novel, vampires are an oppressed people living in a country adjoining a Soviet Union-like country, the Republic of Zirnitra. In this world, almost all of the stories you've heard about vampires being evil and hunting humans are Zirnitran propaganda, but vampires do drink blood and are sensitive to sunlight. Irina is a young vampire woman who volunteers to be a test subject for the Zirnitran space program so she can get closer to the moon, which she loves. The story is based on the real Soviet space program of the 1960s and I rooted for Irina as she overcame her own fears and Zirnitran oppression to fly in orbit and see her beloved moon up close before any human went into orbit.

By Keisuke Makino, KAREI (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Irina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fierce space race between two global superpowers gives rise to the Nosferatu Project, a top-secret plan to train up some unusual cosmonauts - vampires! When Lev Leps, a human soldier, is ordered to supervise vampire test subject Irina Luminesk, the unlikely pair bonds over their shared dream of reaching the stars. Together, can the human and vampire duo rise above the chaos and corruption down on Earth and blast off into the final frontier?


Book cover of Go for Orbit: One of America's First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space

Marianne J. Dyson Author Of A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller

From my list on biographical stories of women in space.

Who am I?

When I was 14, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be an astronaut. It was 1968, and all astronauts were men. My role models came from fiction. It wasn’t until after I got my degree in physics and went to work for NASA that I finally got to know other women scientists and engineers, including the first women flight controllers and American women astronauts. After leaving NASA, I became a space journalist, author, editor, and book reviewer, often focusing on women’s contributions to space. I’m currently the volunteer historian for Mission Control and helping to capture more stories of women in space.

Marianne's book list on biographical stories of women in space

Marianne J. Dyson Why did Marianne love this book?

As one of the 8,000 people who applied (and wasn’t selected) as an astronaut in 1978, I wondered what made the six women chosen, including Dr. Seddon, stand out.

How about the stamina and skill to handle 24-hour shifts saving gunshot victims in the emergency room? How about pushing her body to the limit to hold her breath and swim two lengths underwater? And then there is the sheer determination that allowed her to endure almost drowning when the spacesuit she had to wear was sized for a man.

She not only was one of the first women astronauts, but she also married an astronaut and raised a happy family during the high-pressure Shuttle era. In my opinion, Rhea Seddon’s story should be required reading for all Americans!

By Rhea Seddon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Go for Orbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a small town in Tennessee, the young girl stood with her father and gazed at the Russian Sputnik in the night sky. She knew that she was witnessing the beginning of a new era for the human race. Would she play a part? Rhea Seddon was ten years old.

As years went by, humans ventured off the planet and walked on the moon. The astronauts were men but she felt that would change. At Berkeley in the tumultuous late 1960s, in medical school and a surgery residency she learned that the world no longer belonged solely to males. When…


Book cover of All-American Boys

Don Eyles Author Of Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir

From my list on by Apollo insiders.

Who am I?

I have read most of the books written about Apollo, especially those ostensibly written by my fellow participants. I have read these books for pleasure, to find out about parts of the moon effort that I did not see first-hand, and to learn what I could from the authors’ mistakes and successes — with a view to the writing of my own book. The books I have come to value the most are the books that seem to have been created for some other reason than commercial gain, the books unmarred by ghostwriting or heavy-handed editing, the books where the author’s authentic voice speaks from the page.

Don's book list on by Apollo insiders

Don Eyles Why did Don love this book?

Cunningham was one of those mean little SOBs, and his attitude was hardly improved when his astronaut career was torpedoed by the bad behavior of his mission commander on Apollo 7, Wally Schirra, which tainted the entire crew for the NASA brass. It turns out that Cunningham could also write, and the result is this pungent memoir — the title is loaded with irony. It is the least constrained of all the astronaut memoirs, unmistakably in Cunningham’s own pugnacious voice. 

By Walter Cunningham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All-American Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

EDITORIAL REVIEW: *The All-American Boys* is a no-holds-barred candid memoir by a former Marine jet jockey and physicist who became NASA's second civilian astronaut. Walter Cunningham presents the astronauts in all their glory in this dramatically revised and updated edition that was considered an instant classic in its first edition over two decades ago. From its insider's view of the pervasive "astropolitics" that guided the functioning of the astronaut corps to its thoughtful discussion of the Columbia tragedy, *The All-American Boys* resonates with Cunningham's passion for humanity's destiny in space which endures today. This is a story of the triumph…


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Interested in astronauts, the Soviet Union, and the Soviet space program?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about astronauts, the Soviet Union, and the Soviet space program.

Astronauts Explore 61 books about astronauts
The Soviet Union Explore 313 books about the Soviet Union
The Soviet Space Program Explore 8 books about the Soviet space program