An erudite and engaging book - in the tradition of W.B. Sebald - about one of the world's most desolate reaches. Courland is an entity that no longer exists. Occupied by Nazi Germany and returned to Soviet Russia after the war, it remained largely inaccessible until 1991. Kauffmann roams this nowhere land of wide skies and forests, deserted beaches and ruined castles, looking for a lost lover and an excavator of tombs, and following in the footsteps of exiled Louis XVIII.
A brave and revelatory account of how a low-level KGB operative came to control the world's largest country and, in an astonishingly short time, managed to reclaim the power of the Presidency and set to work consolidating the government.
The uniquely powerful and moving story of the relationship between Lev and Sveta, two young Muscovites who were separated first by the Second World War, and then by the Gulag. But extraordinarily, the resilient pair were able to smuggle letters to each other throughout their separation, and these documents form the basis of this love story like no other.
In the spring of 1839 British forces invaded Afghanistan for the first time. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the 19th century, a powerful army ambushed and routed by Afghan tribesmen. The parallels between this first engagement and the current crisis in Afghanistan are striking and relevant: this is history at its most urgent.
Michael Hastings, a Rolling Stone journalist, accompanied General Stanley McChrystal across Europe in 2010, watching incredulously as they splurged money on frivolities and insulted the Obama administration they were allegedly subordinate to. His article got McChrystal fired, and in his new book, The Operators, Hastings continues the dark revelations about Allied military commanders on and off of the battlefield. Essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of military affairs today.
Robert Kaplan's fascinating and informative account of his time with the mujahidin and their successful mission to oust the Russian army and how this led to the rise of the Taliban. He returns in the 1990s to charter this lawless, war-ravaged territory of refugee camps and minefields.
Sherard Cowper-Coles last book, Cables from Kabul showed us a very different Afghan front line, that of the diplomats whose job it was to negotiate and explain Britain to the Afghans and Afghanistan to the Britons. Now, in Ever the Diplomat, Cowper-Coles takes us behind the doors of the Foreign Office to experience just what our diplomatic corps does to maintain and manage British interests around the world. From writing speeches for Thatcher to hiding an embarrassing bobble hat from Robin Cook, we are taken on a often humorous, always insightful journey through Whitehall and abroad, as the mandarins of the FCO respond to an ever shifting world.
The best work on the Mongols since its first edition publication in 1986, this revised 2nd edition of David Morgans essential work is the essential starting point to learning about histories greatest land empire and dispelling the myths of the Nomadic Mongols as barbarians. A student of Middle East studies luminaries such as Anne Lambton and Bernard Lewis, Morgan guides us through the empire, from its formation on the steppes of Central Asia to its dominance, in the forms of the Golden Horde, Ilkhanate and Yuan Dynasty (in Russia, the Middle East and China respectively), of the majority of Eurasia. A must-read.
Oliver Bullough's colleague, a Russian reporter, drank a bottle of brandy with breakfast.
Then he had a bottle of brandy in the car on the way to the Chechen front.
Then stopped the car to buy a bottle of Vodka.
By the end of the day, Bullough and a couple of other reporters had to cobble together a dispatch under his friends name and send it back to Moscow on his behalf.
Once, this is anecdote, about Russian love of life and the travails of Russian-based journalism, but dozens, hundreds, thousands of times, it's about a nation that is sick, whose populations is dropping faster than any other, of infant mortality rates equal to underdeveloped African nations, and about a society where no one blinks when a journalist orders a bottle of brandy with his eggs in the morning.
Bullough, author of Let Our Fame Be Great, a powerful travel memoir and history of Georgia, returns to give us the modern history of Russia, following in the footsteps of an Orthodox Priest from a small village, who saw the entire Russian system, from post-war Moscow, to the Siberian Gulag, KGB repression of his sermons and the nation crawling into a bottle in the 1960's and 1970's, never to crawl out. Father Dmitry exhorted his flock to love and trust one another. Is it too late for Russians to learn his lesson?
In 1912 Albanov's Russian exploration vessel was frozen into a polar ice cap, trapping all crew on board. For eighteen months they survived, clinging to fading hopes of rescue. Finally they set out on foot across hundreds of miles of desolate ice - only two survived. This vivid account of the ordeal, compiled from journal entries, is utterly compelling. Includes forewords from Jon Krakauer and David Roberts.
Amis's boldest book, this facinating work addresses the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals in the Twentieth Century. Mixed with his own personal reflections is a brilliant analysis of Stalin, otherwise known as Koba the Dread.
A gruelling account of one soldier's tour of duty in Chechnya. Babchenko is unsparing in his revelations, describing the appalling conditions, the gruesome behaviour of both sides and the horrifying duties which fell on him and his young comrades. A biography which sits alongside the best accounts of Vietnam.
F. M. Bailey was an explorer and secret agent for the British. In 1918 he was sent on a nail-biting assignment shadowing the movements of the Bolshevik secret police in Central Asia. A thrilling account from a real-life James Bond.
In this excellent memoir, subtitled "An American son uncovers his Armenian past", Balakian recounts his gradual awakening to the horrors of the Armenian genocide and the transformative effect it had on his identity.
A playful, enormously ambitious work that knits travel writing, observational humour and literary criticism into an engaging account of one woman’s love affair with Russian literature. The volume is much more than the sum of its parts – essays interpreting the works of Russian authors Tolstoy, Chekhov, Babel, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky – it is a defense of the book itself, a send-up of academic whimsy and a celebration of every-day absurdity.
Travel writer and guide Jonny Bealby follows in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling's Daniel Davrot from the Man Who Would Be King and explores Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A tender, heartfelt and insightful piece of travel writing from an interesting man.
An intoxicating fusion of travelogue, memoir and love story, Blanch's 1968 masterpiece tells of her travels through Siberia and beyond in search of the mysterious Russian she first met as a child. Drenched in sumptuous imagery and filled with great insight, this is not to be missed.
This fantastic series offers rich cultural and historical accounts of the world's great cities. Here the able Brooke explores the way in which Moscow has reinvented itself across history, and the fascination it has exerted over the writers, artists and composers who have made the city their home.