The best books on the Soviet Union 📚

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

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Book cover of Among the Russians

Among the Russians

By Colin Thubron

Why this book?

Ten thousand miles in a Morris Minor. The reader might wonder, after closing this book, what has changed in Russia in forty years, despite regime collapse. An excellent companion on the road – though I found it hard to choose between this and Thubron’s later book on Russia, In Siberia.
From the list:

The best books to read when visiting Russia

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Book cover of Black Earth City

Black Earth City

By Charlotte Hobson

Why this book?

A wonderful account of a young Englishwoman’s year as a student in Voronezh in the potato belt. Crucially, that year was 1991, and Hobson saw it all. At once lyrical, funny and grim, this is a book that stands the test of time despite it all.
From the list:

The best books to read when visiting Russia

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Book cover of Journey into Russia

Journey into Russia

By Laurens van der Post

Why this book?

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.
From the list:

The best books to read when visiting Russia

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Book cover of The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It

The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It

By Seymour M. Hersh

Why this book?

A brilliant investigation into one of the great mysteries of the Cold War - why had flight KAL007 drifted 350 miles off course into sensitive Soviet military airspace when it was shot down? Was it a genuine navigational error or could it have been a more sinister spying operation?

From the list:

The best books on Cold War mysteries

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Book cover of Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War

Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War

By David M. Glantz

Why this book?

A truly extraordinary examination of the army that would do a majority of the fighting and suffer as well as inflict the largest portion of the military casualties of the European part of World War II. The "Bibliographic Essay and Selective Bibliography" is extraordinarily helpful in its account of the fate of Soviet archives and publications over the years.

From the list:

The best books on WW2 from a military historian

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Book cover of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

By David Stahel

Why this book?

The author provides an analysis of the initial stages of the fighting on the Eastern Front that effectively revises several of the prior generally accepted views of that critical portion of the war. Here is one book that extensively utilizes German sources without becoming enslaved by them as too many works appear to become.

From the list:

The best books on WW2 from a military historian

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