Now this is a rather random selection which I will explain. At one point I read a few Russian authors and remarked to my mum, “I know nothing about Russian history.” Then for Christmas she bought me this book, a rather random present but a very much appreciated one. If you have never read one of the Very Short Introduction series, do, because they are always well written and highly informative, doing exactly what they outline to do. I am still no expert on Russia but now at least I have a minor idea of some of Russian history.
Geoffrey Hosking is a well respected British historian who clearly outlines the different eras of Russian history; starting with the Kieven Res and the Mongols, before continuing right up to the era of Putin and Medvedev. I was particularly interested in the reigns of Ivan IV (the Terrible) and Catherine II (the Great) who are touched upon briefly so I will look into reading in more detail about them. Throughout the book Hosking attempts to show the huge size of Russia itself, and the problems that arouse due to this. We see the vulnerability of such a massive country as well as the efforts taken to unite it. There’s not much once can say about a book that fits over a century of history into 130 pages except that it is done very well and makes for easy, understandable reading.