• A Short History of Russia

  • By: Mark Galeotti
  • Narrated by: Mark Galeotti
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Can anyone truly understand Russia? Let one of the world's leading experts show you how, using the fascinating history of a nation to illuminate its future. 

Russia is a country with no natural borders, no single ethnos, no true central identity. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is everyone’s ‘other’. And yet it is one of the most powerful nations on earth, a master game-player on the global stage with a rich history of war and peace, poets and revolutionaries.  

In this essential whistle-stop tour of the world’s most misunderstood nation, Mark Galeotti takes us behind the myths to the heart of the Russian story: from the formation of a nation to its early legends - including Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great - to the rise and fall of the Romanovs, the Russian Revolution, the Cold War, Chernobyl and the end of the Soviet Union - plus the arrival of an obscure Politician named Vladimir Putin. 

©2020 Mark Galeotti (P)2020 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about A Short History of Russia

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  • William
  • 02-04-21

Competent digest of topic

The part I found most interesting was the final chapter, evaluating Putin's potential place in history.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Phil Mc Mahon
  • 02-25-22

It probably prompts as many questions as it answers, but that’s a good thing.

This work is absorbing. Understanding the past enables us to understand the present, and in that respect Galeotti provides a concise overview of the formation of Russia and what it means to be Russian. Anyone who is beginning to take an interest in geopolitical history will likely find this to be assuaging rather than intimidating, while those who are already reasonably well informed will find the flow of information enjoyable, interesting and suitably informative in the context of its title, i.e. A Short History of Russia. Being a short history of a fascinating nation naturally leaves us longing for details and prompts questions around the specifics of certain periods and characters, but I would recommend this be regarded as a solid platform for further reading. I would suggest this as an ideal audiobook for anyone looking to build a stronger understanding of Russia and, given the timing, to fill in some of the blanks on what has ultimately contributed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began just yesterday.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Horse Laughter
  • 02-06-22

A masterpiece

Beautifully written, deeply researched and with a wise balance for the overall picture of Russian history.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nathan
  • 07-15-21

Fast and effective primer

Galeotti is engaging and gives a comprehensive introduction to all of Russian history while providing a guide to further reading. An excellent first stop.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chros
  • 04-13-22

Good balance of information vs time

A fairly solid survey course on Russian history to act as a basis for further study. Mark Galeotti successfully manages to condense ~1100 years of history over a huge geographical area into 8 chapters. The writing style is vibrant, flowing and scholarly and keeps the reader engaged throughout. Despite this, the book is not without its flaws.

1) Whilst I feel Mark Galeotti should be focussing on the absolute key ideas of Russian history, it sometimes feels as though he's spending time talking more about topics which he personally finds more interesting.

2) The book typically covers events in a chronological order although somewhat long introductions in certain chapters can mean skipping forwards and backwards many years. Without pausing to look at a timeline, this can be disorienting.

3) The vibrant writing style occasionally becomes over the top to produce some strange phrases. Consider the following - 'the palimpsest is acquiring the hypertext'.

4) Historical sources are very rarely mentioned.

On a side note - In the acknowledgements section, I found out the author taught at a university I attended, though in a different department. This was kind of cool.

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  • glynn griffiths
  • 04-10-22

Topical insight

Does this short book help understand events in the world at the moment? Maybe just a bit. Well read with a nice light touch and written a lively pace it’s well worth a go.

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  • Ross
  • 03-17-22

Does what it says on the tin

Just what I required - a short history of Russia. Listened over a condensed period of time to get a flavour of the panoramic over time.