Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East

  • Title: Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East
  • Author: Martin Sixsmith
  • ISBN: 9781590207239
  • Page: 182
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Russia A Year Chronicle of the Wild East Covering politics music literature and art he explores the myths Russians have created from their history Marking the twentieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union Russia is essenti
    Covering politics, music, literature and art, he explores the myths Russians have created from their history.Marking the twentieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complex political landscape of Russia and its unique place in the modern world.

    • Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East ¦ Martin Sixsmith
      182 Martin Sixsmith
    • thumbnail Title: Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East ¦ Martin Sixsmith
      Posted by:Martin Sixsmith
      Published :2019-09-05T20:13:39+00:00

    About Martin Sixsmith


    1. George Martin Sixsmith, British author and journalist.Sixsmith joined the BBC in 1980 where he worked as a foreign correspondent, most notably reporting from Moscow during the end of the Cold War He also reported from Poland during the Solidarity uprising and was the BBC s Washington correspondent during the election and first presidency of Bill Clinton He was based in Russia for five years, the US for four, Brussels for four and Poland for three.Sixsmith left the BBC in 1997 to work for the newly elected government of Tony Blair He became Director of Communications a civil service post , working first with Harriet Harman and Frank Field, then with Alistair Darling His next position was as a Director of GEC plc, where he oversaw the rebranding of the company as Marconi plc.In December 2001, he returned to the Civil Service to join the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions as Director of Communications in time to become embroiled in the second act of the scandal over Jo Moore Moore was special adviser to the transport secretary Stephen Byers and had been the subject of much public condemnation for suggesting that a controversial announcement should be buried during the media coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks 1 Sixsmith incurred the displeasure of Downing Street when his email advising Byers and Moore not to bury bad news was leaked to the press Number Ten attempted to resign him , but had later to issue an apology and pay him compensation Sixsmith was widely expected to write a memoir or autobiography in the wake of his civil service departure, but was gagged by the government citation needed Instead, he produced a novel about near future politics called Spin, published in 2004.His second novel, I Heard Lenin Laugh, was published in 2005 In 2006 he was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to present a series of programmes on Russian poetry, literature and art.In 2007 he wrote The Litvinenko File, an examination of the feud between the Kremlin and Russia s migr oligarchs.In 2008 Sixsmith worked on two BBC documentaries exploring the legacy of the KGB in today s Russia and also presented a BBC documentary, The Snowy Streets of St Petersburg, about artists and writers who fled the former Eastern bloc.In 2009 he wrote The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, about the forcible separation of a mother and child by the nuns of an Irish convent during the 1950s, and the subsequent attempts of the mother and child to contact one another 2 The book was adapted into the film Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears, starring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan as Sixsmith , and written by Coogan and Jeff Pope it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was released in the UK on November 1 2013.In February 2010 Sixsmith wrote Putin s Oil, about Russia s energy wars and their consequences for Moscow and the world.He worked as an adviser to the BBC political sitcom The Thick of It, and the Oscar nominated film, In the Loop.In 2011, he presented Russia The Wild East, a 50 part history of Russia for BBC Radio 4, the last episode of which was broadcast on 12 August 3 His book Russia, a 1,000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East was published by Random House.In 2014 Sixsmith will present a 25 part programme about the history of psychology and psychiatry for the BBC radio.


    639 Comments


    1. This is a good book if you want to test the waters with Russian history a bit, but not one I’d recommend for a thorough understanding of Russia.For one, it doesn’t cover the 1K period it suggests it does. While I understand that earlier history of any region is difficult to establish because there is often little evidence to work with, majority of this book is history from mid-19 century and after.Secondly, while I think the author does a good job of stating that we cannot judge the history [...]

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    2. Mixed feelings. Well written and very readable, even gripping at times. Considering he was trying to cover 1000 years in just over 550 pages, Sixsmith did a pretty decent job (obviously a lot had to be left out - I'd probably be more upset if I knew more about Russian history). He seemed to be well versed in the arts (esp. literature) and was able to tie a lot of the better known authors/poets into their historical moments. All that said, there were fundamental problems that rubbed me the wrong [...]

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    3. There's nothing like a good chronological history to make you realize how much you know out of order.I was pleased to realize that I actually knew a fair amount of Russian history through reading about tangentially connected topics, from lives of the saints (including St Cyril) to a biography of Voltaire (including his correspondence with Catherine the Great) to a history of the Franco-Prussian War. Fiction, too--Horatio Hornblower, War and Peace, and Tom Clancy have all given me strange little [...]

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    4. A good book with a twist.The premise is simple: Europe vs Asia. Western mentality versus Eastern mentality. Democracy vs Autocracy. And so the author goes over a 1,000-year history of Russia, starting with the Vikings all the way modern-day era.Early periods are full of poems, fables and ancient records found in old churches. Then we get a glimpse into the three important rules of the medieval era, so to speak - Ivan, Peter and Catherine, and reasons why each one of these used autocracy as their [...]

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    5. It is evident, almost immediately, that the author of this book is a journalist and not a historian; and this is not just because he announces it (though he does), rather it's due to his prose style--it is written from start to finish in a relaxed journalese. He also inserts himself in the history, as a kind of TV travel host (which I gather he may have been once upon a time), but mostly sticks to the telling of Russia's tale. I wish he had dwelled on the early history of Russia a bit more. Russ [...]

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    6. Outstanding, impressive monumental chronicle of Russian history, from the princes of medieval Rus to the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Well edited and gripping, especially from the years of Nicholas II to the end of the Breznehv era, with heavy emphasis on the Russian Revolution and the crimes of Stalin and Lenin. After reading this it's hard to understand how anyone ever survived living in Russia beyond the age of one. A truly great book, the best of the year that I've read, by British journali [...]

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    7. Decent history, but I have a few problems with it. First, it's more a history of the Soviet Union than of Russia. All of pre-Soviet history is covered within the first hundred pages or so and almost all the rest of it is Soviet Union. Second, I take issue with the author's identification of "Asiatic" with oppressive, despotic, and irrational while "Western" or "European" represents everything enlightened, grand, and great. This is a pretty old, simplistic, and false prejudice that really only be [...]

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    8. Very compact and readable. Sixsmith keeps the narrative interesting, though the book leans too much on the recent past of Russia. And while, he quotes widely from the great Russian writers, often using their words as a mirror of history, it would have been great had he dwelt a bit more on their own lives. Nevertheless, a good reference for a lay reader.

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    9. Very engaging, but the pacing was strange. In a thousand year history, almost half the book is spent on the years between 1900 and 1960. I would have liked more early history and more modern history.

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    10. Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild EastThis was actually a book I found just on the shelves at B&N. Usually I research books in a lot more detail before I buy them and read full descriptions, etc. Every now and then I like to go into a bookstore and just pick something sort of random. This was one of those. :) Probably easier to do this review as a pro/con list.Pros:-I never studied Russian historyally at all, so this was wonderful in providing a really broad framework. Now as I study [...]

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    11. This book is deeply biased but a very interesting read nonetheless. Its central thesis is that Russian national identity is split between "European liberty" and "Asiatic tyranny", and Russians had forever embraced a statist ideology after the Mongol rule. The failure of Kiev to fend off invaders hardened that view in the Russian psyche. The bias runs deep throughout the book. The author laments every event and every turn in medieval and early Modern Russia as a failure to embrace European values [...]

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    12. I appreciated the work Martin Sixsmith put into writing this, which was also a book accompanying a radio series. Naturally, as authored by a journalist, and covering such a long period, it's not going to have the same detail as something written by an academic historian (see the superb trilogy on The Third Reich by Richard J Evans), but nevertheless it's a great introduction, for me, to Russian history. It's a bit like getting one of those Big Red Bus tours of a city: you get an overall picture [...]

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    13. An informative survey that hits the highlights of Russian history from the establishment of Kievan Rus that marked the beginnings of Russia as a nation to the sinister reign of Vladimir Putin. If you know nothing of Russian history, this is a good place to start.

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    14. More a historical journey than a factual history of Russia, well written but lacking a lot of historical information that I was seeking. Recommended for someone who wants a broad history of Russia and the Soviet Union

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    15. This book adequately served its function as a one-volume history of Russia to fills gaps in my understanding. While it focuses predominantly on the last 150 years, it offers a broad sweep of much history. It was engaging to read, and after finishing it it leaves you with some details and anecdotes that I think expand my understanding of this country and human nature as a whole. However, I believe it has several flaws that prevent it from being a particularly good or great history book. The fact [...]

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    16. This book is written in a clear, accessible and even entertaining style, as one would expect from an author who is a successful journalist and a Russian expert. There are plenty of nuggets of information and anecdotes to bring history alive. However, it is seriously unbalanced. 30% of the book deals with the period from the 9th century until 1900; a further 40% deals with the period 1900 - 1945; and a further 30% from the period from 1945 until 2011. Really, there should have been two books, eac [...]

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    17. 1000 yıllık Rus tarihinin kolay okunur hali. 90'lı yıllarda BBC Moskova muhabiri olarak görev yapan Martin Sixsmith zor bir işe soyunmuş ve 1000 yıllık bir ülke tarihini okunur, anlaşılır hale getirmiş. Rus tarihi çok renkli, çalkantılı ve kanlı bir tarih. Doğu ve batının buluştuğu bu ülke tüm dünyayı etkiliyor. Rusya Batı'daki benzerleri gibi demokratik bir ülke olma yolunda ilerleyebilir miydi? Yoksa hep bir demir yumrukla mı yönetilmek zorunda? Kitap bu sorunun [...]

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    18. This is more of a history of Russia in the 20th century, with the first 900 years serving as a prelude. Much has been passed over in order to spare room for the undoubtedly interesting events of the last 100 years. The end of Monghol rule is barely mentioned; the Romanov dynasty is covered in little more than 100 pages. Once you get to the 1917 revolution it is of course gripping and, as someone who knew little about Russian history before, I enjoyed the detailed and thoughtful description of ev [...]

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    19. I enjoyed reading this author. As other reviewers have stated though, this was not for the person who wants a deep understanding of the Russian persona or of the intracacies of the Russian time periods of fascination. But I did like when the author related stories of what he found when he lived there. THAT was the gripping part. If he hasn't already, he should write of his own life in Russia and what he encountered when trying to see the country from the historical perspective as well as his own [...]

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    20. A very interesting read. Spoilt in places by unattributed quotes and extracts and many undated references within the text. A huge task, the book stems from a BBC series of the same name. It includes much insight into events in Russia, reported in the West without much depth. A good example of this is the description of events leading up to Boris Yeltsin's jumping onto a tank to give a speech which quelled a violent takeover by the State. Seen by international viewers, but the book describes the [...]

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    21. Excellent book. One of the most enjoyable history books I have read. Each chapter is concise and relevant to recent or current events. Brings to life the great colour and contradictory nature of Russia and Soviet people. Highly recommend.

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    22. I learned a lot but I was hoping more about Russia's relationship with Sweden. None of the wars are mentioned. I recommend Matti Klinge's book Ancient powers of the Baltic Sea. One minor mistake in the map of USSR in 1922. The border with Finland is incorrect. Worth reading.

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    23. This is an ok book. Focuses more on recent events and really picks up steam around the revolution. The author is very opinionated.

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    24. If you're at all interested, as I am, of Russia and wish to visit it someday, this is the book to read. While there's plenty of accounts of modern Russian history, Sixsmith's most intriguing parts are those that delve deep into Russia's distant past, from the Kievan Rus' to the Mongol invasion. The writing is very accessible and Sixsmith's personal accounts of his visits to the cities and regions he writes about provide a fascinating look at how places change over the centuries.

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    25. Martin Sixsmith’s vast experience as a BBC correspondent in Moscow stand him in good stead for this insightful overview of the formation of modern Russia. Why do I say modern Russia when the book purportedly examines over 1000 years of Russian history? Well, others reviewers are correct when they identify pacing issues. Sixsmith spends the first third of the book discussing the history of Russia from its misty Dark Ages origins to the rise of the 1917 revolution, and the other two thirds of th [...]

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    26. Growing up in a post-Cold War America, I was not unlike many of my peers when it came to literacy of Russian culture, values, or history - almost everything I knew of the “Wild East” I learned from 80’s film villains. Those stereotypes were readily abandoned however after being exposed to some beautiful and enchanting soviet-era films, and with my interest in the culture so peaked I sought out books that would provide a concise over-view of the country I had previously been content to simp [...]

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    27. I've tried to read other Russian history books, and never managed to make it through. Because history is composed of facts, figures, names and dates to such a great extent, they were often dry and I felt I was merely wading through them, never really engaged. Martin Sixsmith's journalistic voice changed that. Not only was his book infomative, it was was easy to read. As a someone who had lived in Russia for a good amount of time, he could compare present with past, particularly in the instances [...]

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    28. A comprehensive but brief overview of 1000 years of Russian history, this book is filled with interesting insights into the various factors that have shaped the distinctive Russian identity. The author obviously has a vast amount of knowledge about Russia, and is good at drawing out links and underlying causes behind contemporary events. However, this book’s necessarily abbreviated perspective means that it doesn’t examine any one topic in any particular detail. I freely admit that am not re [...]

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    29. In general it is a good material for the introduction of Russian history from ancient time to the current regime under Putin. With the support of novels, poems and quotes from influential Russian figures, the author was able to deliver the content of Russian history in a lively, insightful and coherent manner. One of the deepest reflections of from this book is that while there were times when western style democracy was possible in Russia (even in the times of Kiev ten centuries ago, the govern [...]

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    30. There’s a lot to like about this book, but its wonky structure kind of killed it for me.Martin Sixsmith is an excellent writer and the book’s first half is indeed a whistle-stop ride through 1,000 years of Russia’s crazy history. Sixsmith’s thesis – that democracy following the fall of Soviet Russia was never destined to take root, because autocracy is too central to Russia’s cultural lifeblood – is an interesting one and he ably elucidates it using historical fact. However, halfwa [...]

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