Former People

Author: Douglas Smith
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0374157618
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download and Read
Examines the fate of two Russian aristocratic families in a detailed account of the Bolshevik Revolution's effect on the upper class, discussing the relentless lootings, harrowing escapes, humbling exile and imprisonment, and summary executions that tookplace during this violent time of transition.

Former People

Author: Douglas Smith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1466827750
Format: PDF
Download and Read
Epic in scope, precise in detail, and heart-breaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin's Russia. Filled with chilling tales of looted palaces and burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding peasants and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution, it is the story of how a centuries'-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the Tsar and Empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia. Yet Former People is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class—so-called "former people" and "class enemies"—overcame the psychological wounds inflicted by the loss of their world and decades of repression as they struggled to find a place for themselves and their families in the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families—the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns—it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on. Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia's most powerful aristocratic families, and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.

The Pearl

Author: Douglas Smith
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300150555
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download and Read
Set against the backdrop of imperial Russia, this tale of forbidden romance is the stuff of a great historical novel. It presents the account of the love between Count Nicholas Sheremetev, Russia's richest aristocrat, and Praskovia Kovalyova, his serf and the greatest opera diva of her time.

Rasputin

Author: Douglas Smith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374711232
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download and Read
On the centenary of the death of Rasputin comes a definitive biography that will dramatically change our understanding of this fascinating figure A hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. 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, Rasputinseparates 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.

Stalin and the Scientists

Author: Simon Ings
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802189865
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download and Read
Scientists throughout history, from Galileo to today’s experts on climate change, have often had to contend with politics in their pursuit of knowledge. But in the Soviet Union, where the ruling elites embraced, patronized, and even fetishized science like never before, scientists lived their lives on a knife edge. The Soviet Union had the best-funded scientific establishment in history. Scientists were elevated as popular heroes and lavished with awards and privileges. But if their ideas or their field of study lost favor with the elites, they could be exiled, imprisoned, or murdered. And yet they persisted, making major contributions to 20th century science. Stalin and the Scientists tells the story of the many gifted scientists who worked in Russia from the years leading up to the Revolution through the death of the “Great Scientist” himself, Joseph Stalin. It weaves together the stories of scientists, politicians, and ideologues into an intimate and sometimes horrifying portrait of a state determined to remake the world. They often wreaked great harm. Stalin was himself an amateur botanist, and by falling under the sway of dangerous charlatans like Trofim Lysenko (who denied the existence of genes), and by relying on antiquated ideas of biology, he not only destroyed the lives of hundreds of brilliant scientists, he caused the death of millions through famine. But from atomic physics to management theory, and from radiation biology to neuroscience and psychology, these Soviet experts also made breakthroughs that forever changed agriculture, education, and medicine. A masterful book that deepens our understanding of Russian history, Stalin and the Scientists is a great achievement of research and storytelling, and a gripping look at what happens when science falls prey to politics.

The Russian Court at Sea

Author: Frances Welch
Publisher: Short Books
ISBN: 1907595732
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download and Read
On 11th April 1919, less than a year after the assassination of the Romanovs, the British battleship HMS Marlborough left Yalta carrying 17 members of the Russian Imperial Family into perpetual exile. They included the Tsar's mother, the Dowager Empress Marie, and his sister, the Grand Duchess Xenia, Prince Felix Youssupov, the murderer of Rasputin and a man once mooted as a future leader of Russia, and Grand Duke Nicholas, former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armies. As the ship prepared to set sail, a British sloop carrying 170 White Russian soldiers drew up alongside. The soldiers stood on deck and sang the Russian National Anthem. It was the last time the anthem was sung to members of the Imperial Family within Russian territory for over 70 years. The Dowager Empress stood on deck alone. Nobody dared to approach her. The Russian Court at Sea vividly recreates this unlikely voyage, with its bizarre assortment of warring characters and its priceless cargo of treasures, including rolled-up Rembrandts and Faberge eggs. It is a story, by turns exotic, comic and doomed, of an extraordinary group of people caught up in an extraordinary moment in history when their lives were in every way at sea.

The Songs of St Petersburg

Author: Amor Towles
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0091944244
Format: PDF, ePub
Download and Read
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility. 'A comic masterpiece.' The Times 'Winning . . . gorgeous . . . satisfying . . . Towles is a craftsman.' New York Times Book Review 'A work of great charm, intelligence and insight.' Sunday Times 'Everything a novel should be: charming, witty, poetic and generous. An absolute delight.' Mail on Sunday 'If we do a better book than this one on the book club this year we will be very very lucky.' Matt Williams, Radio 2 Book Club 'Abundant in humour, history and humanity' Sunday Telegraph 'Wistful, whimsical and wry.' Sunday Express On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.