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Russia

Russia

Few other countries have such a fascinating and tumultuous history as Mother Russia! Learn about Imperial Russia and the Romanovs with one of Robert Massie’s excellent biographies on Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas and Alexandra. Or leap ahead past the Russian Revolution with books on the Soviet Era, then follow the collapse of the Soviet Union with David Remnick’s Lenin’s Tomb. We’ve even got the latest scholarship on Vladimir Putin and all the legendary Russian novelists, from Dostoyevsky to Tolstoy, perfect for those long international flights.

Follow the links below to see recommended reading for each destination.

The Longitude Blog – Russia
Sixty Degrees North
Shetland IslandsThe Shetland Islands are a Scottish archipelago located to the northwest of Great Britain. Visitors to Shetland are told that the island lies upon the 60th parallel, as though this means something. And to many locals, it does. For them, the 60th parallel signifies that the archipelago is more than just isolated islands—it is connected to the larger world in a meaningful way. When Shetland native Malachy Tallack was 16, his father died. “It was the kind of quiet, ordinary day on which nothing extraordinary ought to happen. But it did,” he writes. Shortly after the funeral, he found himself staring out the window of his house in Lerwick, Shetland, imagining the 60th parallel unfolding before him into the distance.
Restless Empire
All countries are in some way shaped by their geography, and certainly this applies to Russia, “a nation whose sheer size and diversity have challenged rulers and shaped its identity,” according to the editors of Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia. This ambitious atlas proves an invaluable resource for both Russian scholars and less-informed readers looking for an illustrated overview of how the country’s size and shape has morphed throughout its tumultuous history. Even those who know nothing about Russian history can point to the mammoth nation on the wall map, but this helpful atlas transforms the complex, enormous nation into digestible pieces through colorful maps and illuminating text.
Monument to Peter the Great
Assistant Editor Ashley Bergman Carlin describes a favorite spot she discovered in Moscow, though it took her several passes to see it.
  I probably looked at the giant statue before I saw it. Standing just over 320 feet tall (15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty), it sits where the Moskva River meets the Vodootvodny Canal to the west of Moscow’s city center and can be seen from far away. The first time I registered the statue as I walked across the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge, I saw only the top of it, noticing the mast and three furled sails. Squinting, I asked my husband, “Is that a ship?” then realized that I’d seen this mirage modestly listed on my city map as “Monument to Peter the Great.