The best books about Moscow 📚

Browse the best books on Moscow as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles

Why this book?

I brought a paperback copy with me on an overseas long-haul flight. My friend recommended it after I returned from reporting in Ukraine. From the opening pages, the pithy repartee had me, for the first time in ages, stitched. Holding and reading Towles’ book in public was a pleasure all my own, like being swaddled next to a fire as a friend recounted his life in full, learning from how he handled drudgery, disappointment, fellowship, and love. It left me feeling like I’d made a new friend. I didn’t want to share it with anyone. I never wanted it to…

From the list:

The best books to get you through troubling times

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Book cover of 57 Hours: A Survivor's Account of the Moscow Hostage Drama

57 Hours: A Survivor's Account of the Moscow Hostage Drama

By Paul Wilson, Vesselin Nedkov

Why this book?

Vesselin Nedkov was in Moscow on a business trip when he decided to buy a ticket to the Broadway style musical Nord-Ost, which was being shown at the Theater on Dubrovka. This book is his harrowing account of the ordeal as the theater and its thousand visitors were seized by armed terrorists and held for 57 hours before being "liberated" by the Russian special forces who attacked the theater with lethal gas. Rich in detail, his book also raises the many unanswered questions about the massive loss of innocent life. 
From the list:

The best books on contemporary Russia

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Book cover of The One and Only

The One and Only

By Julia Ash

Why this book?

So often, the ‘strong woman’ character is in fact just a really rude, self-centered person, but not here. In Julia Ash’s The ELI Chronicles series, Ruby is a kind-hearted, brilliant scientist trying to do what’s right for her family and for the world. She’s also a great mother and is in a healthy, wholesome marriage with a supportive husband. That’s wonderfully refreshing amidst the plethora of toxic relationships we see in movies and books.

From the list:

The best books with strong, admirable women

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Book cover of A Year Without Mom

A Year Without Mom

By Dasha Tolstikova

Why this book?

This engaging graphic novel follows twelve-year-old Dasha as she is forced to separate from her mom who leaves for America to make a better life for the two of them. The spare yet touching text brings us into Dasha’s world in Russia and her fears and hopes for a new life. Based on Tolstikova’s own experiences, the book draws the reader into Dasha’s fears and joys.
From the list:

The best books that bring real events and real kids alive for readers

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Book cover of Russian Disco

Russian Disco

By Wladimir Kaminer

Why this book?

In 1989 when the Wall fell, Kaminer moved from Moscow to Berlin in a lucky wave of emigration. Russian Disco catches the euphoria and vodka-fueled madness of a city adrift in the flux of reunification with contract killer on the trams, black marketeers in sushi bars and artists dreaming of success as another week passes them by in non-stop, techno clubs.

From the list:

The best books to read if you are planning a trip to Berlin

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Book cover of Moscow, 1937

Moscow, 1937

By Karl Schlogel

Why this book?

Karl Schlögel’s masterpiece, Moscow,1937, is a gripping study of Moscow at the peak of the Stalinist Great Terror. With short chapters and a multitude of illustrations, the book leads the reader on a panoptic tour of every aspect of the city’s life in this year of mass arrests and waves of executions. Step by step, Schlögel builds a convincing case that as the Communist regime struggled to get a grip on the chaos unleashed by the regime’s own collectivization and industrialization drives, its reflexive response was to resort to political violence. The murderous frenzy that resulted changed the society…

From the list:

The best books on modern Russian history

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