10 books like Vekhi

By Nikolei Berdiaev, Sergei Bulgakov, Mikhail Gershenson, A.S. Izgoev, Bogdan Kistiakovskii, Petr Struve, Frank Semen

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Vekhi. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Origins of Totalitarianism

By Hannah Arendt,

Book cover of Origins of Totalitarianism

Arendt’s three-part masterwork had the same US editor as 1984 and can be read as the non-fiction equivalent. While scholars have subsequently questioned aspects of her grand theory of totalitarianism, much of it holds up. Her commanding, aphoristic prose has made this one of the most widely quoted books of recent years, especially on the subject of power creating its own alternate reality: “In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time… think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”

Origins of Totalitarianism

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Origins of Totalitarianism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism—an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history.

The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses…


The Russian Tradition

By Tibor Szamuely,

Book cover of The Russian Tradition

Tibor Szamuely was the nephew of a leading Hungarian communist who was killed in the purges. In this book, completed just before his death at 47, he traces the process through which Russians were enslaved by the state. Peasants were progressively bound to the land. The Russian church accepted the fusion of political and religious authority in the person of the Tsar. After the fall of Byzantium, the tsars, as the heads of the only surviving Orthodox state, treated Moscow as the ”Third Rome” and began to claim worldwide moral and political leadership. This claim was supported by the Russian people who saw in it justification for their miserable conditions. Communism was supposed to be entirely new but as Szamuely eloquently shows, it merely modernized the Russian state tradition.

The Russian Tradition

By Tibor Szamuely,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This analysis of Russian history traces the essential features of Revolutionary Russia back to medieval times when authoritarian rule first became a prerequisite of survival and is intended as a contribution to our understanding of the Soviet Union.


The Seven Days of Creation

By Vladimir Maximov,

Book cover of The Seven Days of Creation

In this multi-generational novel, Maximov showed what the Soviet system meant for ordinary people whose speech he had a rare gift for capturing. In his portrait of seven decades of the Lashkov family, he showed how the drive of the communists to control the lives of others on the basis of an ideology whose implications they themselves did not understand tore families apart. Pyotr Lashkov, the patriarch, became totally alienated from his alcoholic anti-communist brother.  Vadim Lashkov, a member of the third generation, is put in a mental hospital. A fellow prisoner advises him: “If ever you think of trying to escape, the search will be thorough, very thorough. And they’ll find you… because you’ve found out a little more than ordinary mortals are supposed to know.”

The Seven Days of Creation

By Vladimir Maximov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Text: English, Russian (translation)


Moscow - 2042

By Vladimir Voinovich,

Book cover of Moscow - 2042

Vladimir Voinovich was probably the greatest Russian satirical writer since Gogol. After the fall of the U.S.S.R., he was asked if it was still possible to write satire in Russia. He insisted that it was. “The Soviet Union was a giant mental hospital but it was organized,” he explained. “Now, the inmates have been told that they can do whatever they want. So Russia is funnier than ever.”

In this novel, published in 1986, Voinovich demonstrated his stunning ability to divine the future. He described a new Russian regime dominated by state security and based not on Marxism-Leninism but on the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Like Russia today, the regime of his novel tells its citizens that they are surrounded by “three rings of hostility.” The first is the former Soviet republics; the second, the former Soviet satellites, the third, the West – the former “capitalist enemy.” This makes…

Moscow - 2042

By Vladimir Voinovich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moscow - 2042 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this satire that pokes fun at the future of communism, socialist life, and the Kremlin, an exiled Soviet writer enters a time warp and lands in Moscow in the year 2042.


Russian Thinkers

By Isaiah Berlin,

Book cover of Russian Thinkers

As a Russian Jew and Russian-speaker by birth, a witness of the Russian Revolution, a historian of ideas by vocation, and a consummate prose-writer, Berlin was able to extract the pith of the nineteenth-century Russian intelligentsia and present it in English as no one else has before or since. Belinsky, Herzen, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and others come to life in these ten essays and speak to us and our concerns today in Berlin’s ventriloquistic tours de force.

In particular, Herzen’s passionate denunciation of political extremism plays a central role, and provides a moral underpinning for Berlin’s commitment to liberty. The book is a major contribution to the explanation of Russia to the West, and the reader is left in no doubt about the relevance and power of the ideas that Berlin illuminates.


Russian Thinkers

By Isaiah Berlin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few, if any, English-language critics have written as perceptively as Isaiah Berlin about Russian thought and culture. Russian Thinkers is his unique meditation on the impact that Russia's outstanding writers and philosophers had on its culture. In addition to Tolstoy's philosophy of history, which he addresses in his most famous essay, 'The Hedgehog and the Fox,' Berlin considers the social and political circumstances that produced such men as Herzen, Bakunin, Turgenev, Belinsky, and others of the Russian intelligentsia, who made up, as Berlin describes, 'the largest single Russian contribution to social change in the world.'


The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

By Cathy Porter,

Book cover of The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

After worshiping Leo Tolstoy and his writing for long decades, the much later discovery of Sophia’s diaries came to me as a huge revelation: I learnt that no writer or artist is an island, but always part of a human ecosystem that nurtures and feeds their art. In the case of Tolstoy, it was his family and most particularly his wife. In her personal writings we meet the woman behind the great writer, married to him for 48 years, and who bore him 13 children. She was pivotal to his work, encouraging and supporting his literary career. Through her pages, we find out about her love for Tolstoy and their tormented marriage, in which she often felt neglected and provoked. We see the hidden, dark side of the great man of letters, a vastly gifted but troubled individual, and we also learn about Sophia’s undying vital energy that allowed her…

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

By Cathy Porter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Sofia Behrs married Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of "War and Peace", husband and wife regularly exchanged diaries covering the years from 1862 to 1910. Sofia's life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband, but was tormented by him; even her many children were not an unmitigated blessing. In the background of her life was one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history: the transition from old feudal Russia to the three revolutions and three major international wars. Yet it is as Sofia Tolstoy's own life story, the study of one woman's private experience, that the…


Secondhand Time

By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich,

Book cover of Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

If you would like to try and understand the Soviet and post-Soviet psyche, these first-hand, verbatim interviews from 1991-2012, by Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian Nobel Laureate, question and discuss what it means and meant to be a Soviet. With a wide selection of individual testimonies from different backgrounds of the Soviet Union, from ordinary folk to officials, prisoners, relatives of those who were murdered, the executioners, the book also investigates how they coped when the Soviet Union broke down. Written from transcribed, spoken recordings, these documentary / reportage texts get to the heart of the matter—often that there is a gaping vacancy in the place of what one had previously believed in, from one's earliest of days, even before becoming a red-scarfed Pioneer. When one's whole philosophical fabric has been torn down, how do you exist? How do you cope and make sense of the world? What really is so…

Secondhand Time

By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Secondhand Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia, from Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Financial Times • Kirkus Reviews

When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the…


Journey into Russia

By Laurens van der Post,

Book cover of Journey into Russia

The author was an old fraud but this is a delightful period piece which reveals a good deal, sometimes inadvertently, about the lives of Russians in the benighted Soviet sixties.

Journey into Russia

By Laurens van der Post,

Why should I read it?

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


They Fought for the Motherland

By Laurie S. Stoff,

Book cover of They Fought for the Motherland: Russia's Women Soldiers in World War I and the Revolution

Although they are largely forgotten now, the five to six thousand Russian women who enlisted as soldiers were amongst the most photographed and written about women in the First World War, especially the charismatic but tyrannical leader of the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death, Maria Bochkareva. Stoff’s book gives a highly readable and fascinating account of their formation, their military action, their ill-fated involvement in the defence of the Winter Palace when it was stormed by the Bolsheviks in November 1917, and their reception by the rest of the world as the only battalions of women to carry out officially sanctioned combat roles in the war.

Stoff uses their own memoirs alongside other first-hand accounts by American, British, and French diplomats stationed in Russian in the tumultuous year of 1917, and her book provides a balanced and nuanced analysis.

They Fought for the Motherland

By Laurie S. Stoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Fought for the Motherland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women have participated in war throughout history, but their experience in Russia during the First World War was truly exceptional. Between the war's beginning and the October Revolution of 1917, approximately 6,000 women answered their country's call. These courageous women became media stars throughout Europe and America, but were brushed aside by Soviet chroniclers and until now have been largely neglected by history. Laurie Stoff draws on deep archival research into previously unplumbed material, including many first-person accounts, to examine the roots, motivations, and legacy of these women. She reveals that Russia was the only nation in World War I…


The Billion Dollar Spy

By David E. Hoffman,

Book cover of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

Hoffman tells the previously little-known story of Soviet military engineer Adolf Tolkachev, whose disgust with the communist regime inspired him to turn over enormously valuable secrets to the CIA station in Moscow beginning in the late 1970s. Hoffman’s careful reporting allows him to describe in meticulous and fascinating detail the remarkable techniques and great risks involved in running an agent in Moscow late in the Cold War.

The Billion Dollar Spy

By David E. Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WATERSTONES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH AUGUST 2018 AND A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'An astonishingly detailed picture of espionage in the 1980s, written with pacey journalistic verve and an eerily contemporary feel.' Ben Macintyre, The Times

'A gripping story of courage, professionalism, and betrayal in the secret world.' Rodric Braithwaite, British Ambassador in Moscow, 1988-1992

'One of the best spy stories to come out of the Cold War and all the more riveting for being true.' Washington Post

January, 1977. While the chief of the CIA's Moscow station fills his gas tank, a stranger drops a note into the car.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Russia, intellectual, and the Soviet Union?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Russia, intellectual, and the Soviet Union.

Russia Explore 258 books about Russia
Intellectual Explore 15 books about intellectual
The Soviet Union Explore 251 books about the Soviet Union