Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr


Christopher Warwick - 2007
    A privileged, happy Victorian childhood was touched by tragedy not only with the early deaths of her youngest brother and sister but also that of her young mother. Close to Queen Victoria, Ella spent some of her happiest times in Britain. At 20, however, much against the wishes of her grandmother, who despised everything Russian, Ella became engaged to Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, the authoritarian younger brother of Tsar Alexander III. It was at their wedding that her younger sister, Alix, formed a love match with the future Tsar Nicholas II; an event which not only sealed the fate of both sisters, but that of the Imperial House of Romanov. But for these two marriages, the history of Russia might have been very different. With the assassination of her husband, Ella renounced society and, against considerable opposition, founded the first religious Order of its kind in Russia, working for the poor and destitute of Moscow. Though loved for her charitable works and pionerering achievements, Ella, like Nicholas, Alexandra, and fourteen members of their family, met a brutal death at the hands of the Bolsheviks. At the height of the Russian Revolution, she was taken captive to Siberia where, having been clubbed with rifle butts, she was hurled alive into a disused mineshaft and left to die of her injuries. Later retrieved, her incorrupt body was eventually laid to rest on the Mount of Olives. She was subsequently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as the Holy Imperial Martyr Saint Elisabeth Romanova.

Lenin: A Biography


Robert Service - 2000
    This biography makes use of archive material to piece together his private as well as public life in an effort to give a complete picture of Lenin in all his different roles. Through the prism of Lenin's career, the author examines events such as the October Revolution and the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, the one-party state, economic modernization, dictatorship and the politics of inter-war Europe. He casts light on the nature of the state and society left behind by Lenin, a state and society which has not entirely disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991.

Gorbachev: His Life and Times


William Taubman - 2017
    Drawing on interviews with Gorbachev himself, transcripts and documents from the Russian archives, and interviews with Kremlin aides and adversaries, Taubman’s intensely personal portrait extends to Gorbachev’s remarkable marriage to a woman he deeply loved. Nuanced and poignant, yet unsparing and honest, this sweeping account has all the amplitude of a great Russian novel.

Conspirator: Lenin in Exile


Helen Rappaport - 2009
    But Lenin's character was in fact forged much earlier, over the course of years spent in exile, constantly on the move, and in disguise. In Conspirator, Russian historian Helen Rappaport narrates the compelling story of Lenin's life and political activities in the years leading up to the revolution. As he scuttled between the glittering capital cities of Europe--from London and Munich to Vienna and Prague--Lenin found support among fellow emigres and revolutionaries in the underground movement. He came to lead a ring of conspirators, many of whom would give their lives in service to his schemes.A riveting account of Lenin's little-known early life, Conspirator tracks in gripping detail the formation of one of the great revolutionaries of the twentieth century.

Stalin: Breaker of Nations


Robert Conquest - 1991
    He presents the landmarks of Stalin's rule: the class with Lenin; collectivization; the Great Terror; the Nazi-Soviet pact and the Nazi-Soviet war; the anti-Semitic campaign that preceded his death; and the legacy he left behind.Distilling a lifetime's study, weaving detail, analysis, and research, Conquest has given us an extraordinarily powerful narrative of this incredible figure."Thoughtful and thorough and shot through with insight."--The Washington Post Book World"Definitive . . . a magnificent, even poetic, act of historical retribution."--The New Leader"Brilliant . . . this book probably is the most cogent and readable account of Stalin's life yet published."--The San Diego Union

Three Who Made a Revolution: A Biographical History of Lenin, Trotsky & Stalin


Bertram D. Wolfe - 1948
    Bertram Wolfe, a political scientist and historian of Russia, knew Trotsky and Stalin personally, and here brings his profound insider's knowledge to bear on his subjects. Three Who Made a Revolution recounts the early lives and influences of the three leaders, and shows the development of their diverging ideologies as decades gave strength to their cause and brought Russia closer to its turning point, a revolution that would alter the course of the twentieth century.

Joseph Stalin: A Life From Beginning to End


Hourly History - 2017
     There can be no doubt that Stalin is one of the most notorious and controversial figures in history. He presents a puzzling paradox for both psychologists and sociologists; he was simultaneously revered, feared, loved, and hated during his lifetime. So much has been written about the life of Joseph Stalin and yet upon closer inspection, he still seems to present us with quite an enigma. His cruelty towards his political opponents and dissidents is well known, but so are his efforts to go out of his way in lifting up the most downtrodden and desperate members of Soviet society, giving them the chance that Tsarist Russia would not. Inside you will read about... ✓ A Change of Weather ✓ The Real Revolution Begins ✓ From Exile to Supreme Leader ✓ A Brave New Word ✓ Stalin’s Gambit ✓ Stalin Makes a Comeback ✓ Defending the Capitol ✓ Going West Stalin is known as a brutish dictator who struck a bargain with Hitler as if he was an old friend, yet it was this same Stalin who would almost singlehandedly save Europe from Nazi occupation. Who was Stalin? What did he really want? In this book we explore the complexities and nuances of the living, breathing conundrum who called himself Joseph Stalin.

Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey


Andrew Mango - 1999
    He divided the Allies, defeated the last Sultan, and secured the territory of the Turkish national state, becoming the first president of the new republic in 1923, fast creating his own legend.Andrew Mango's revealing portrait of Atatürk throws light on matters of great importance today-resurgent nationalism, religious fundamentalism, and the reality of democracy.

Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs


Douglas Smith - 2016
    Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra's confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne. His debauchery and sinister political influence are the stuff of legend, and the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was laid at his feet.But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin's life and death has remained shrouded in myth. A major new work that combines probing scholarship and powerful storytelling, Rasputin separates fact from fiction to reveal the real life of one of history's most alluring figures. Drawing on a wealth of forgotten documents from archives in seven countries, Smith presents Rasputin in all his complexity--man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. Rasputin is not just a definitive biography of an extraordinary and legendary man but a fascinating portrait of the twilight of imperial Russia as it lurched toward catastrophe.

The Czars


James P. Duffy - 2015
    The story of these men and women - as diverse as the lands they governed - is, in many ways, the story of Russia itself. From the birth of the Kievan state in the second half of the ninth century to the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family in 1918, historians James P. Duffy and Vincent L. Ricci trace the long and twisted line of imperial rule in Russia, offering many insights into the uses and abuses of absolute power, as well as a glimpse at world history through the eyes of those who made it. The Czars is a vital page in the literature of Russian history.

Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution


Mary Gabriel - 2011
    Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny Marx's marriage. We follow them as they roam Europe, on the run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and see Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal. In LOVE AND CAPITAL, Mary Gabriel has given us a vivid, resplendent, and truly human portrait of the Marxes-their desires, heartbreak and devotion to each other's ideals.

The Russian Anarchists


Paul Avrich - 1967
    In the turmoil of the Russian insurrection of 1905 and civil war of 1917, the anarchists attempted to carry out their program of “direct action”—workers’ control of production, the creation of free rural and urban communes, and partisan warfare against the enemies of a free society.Avrich consulted published material in five languages and anarchist archives worldwide to present a picture of the philosophers, bomb throwers, peasants, and soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of “Mother Russia.” Including the influence and ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin, the armed uprisings of Makhno, the activities of Volin, Maximoff, and the attempted aid of Berkman and Emma Goldman.Paul Avrich is a retired professor of history at Queens College.

Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar


Edvard Radzinsky - 2005
    Alexander II was Russia's Lincoln -- he freed the serfs, promised a new, more liberal state for everyone, yet was brought down by a determined group of terrorist anarchists who tried to kill him six times before finally, fatefully, succeeding. His story proves the timeless lesson that in Russia, it is dangerous to start reforms, but even more dangerous to stop them. It also shows that the traps and dangers encountered in today's war on terrorists were there 150 years ago.

Napoleon: A Political Life


Steven Englund - 2003
    Russell Major Prize, American Historical AssociationBest Book on the First Empire by a Foreigner, Napoleon Foundation"Englund has written a most distinguished book recounting Bonaparte's life with clarity and ease...This magnificent book tells us much that we did not know and gives us a great deal to think about."--Douglas Johnson, Los Angeles Times Book Review"Englund, in his lively biography...seeks less to rehabilitate Napoleon's reputation and legacy than to provide readers with a fuller view of the man and his actions."--Paula Friedman, New York Times"Napoleon: A Political Life is a veritable tour de force the general reader will enjoy it immensely, and learn a great deal from it. But the book also has much to offer historians of modern France."--Sudhir Hazareesingh, Times Literary Supplement"Englund's incisive forays into political theory don't diminish the force of his narrative, which impressively conveys the epochal changes confronting both France and Europe...A strikingly argued biography."--Matthew Price, Washington PostThis sophisticated and masterful biography brings new and remarkable analysis to the study of modern history's most famous general and statesman. As Englund charts Napoleon's dramatic rise and fall--from his Corsican boyhood, his French education, his astonishing military victories and no less astonishing acts of reform as First Consul (1799-1804) to his controversial record as Emperor and, finally, to his exile and death--he explores the unprecedented power Napoleon maintains over the popular imagination.

Young Stalin


Simon Sebag Montefiore - 2007
    Based on ten years' astonishing new research, here is the thrilling story of how a charismatic, dangerous boy became a student priest, romantic poet, gangster mastermind, prolific lover, murderous revolutionary, and the merciless politician who shaped the Soviet Empire in his own brutal image: How Stalin became Stalin.