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In this superior history of Russia, James Billington has succeeded in painting a vivid picture not just of the history of Russia, but of the people. If you ever wanted to have a better understanding of just what "being Russian" entails, this book gives a very graceful account. It is packed with detail without being dry, vivid without being 'colorful, ' and wide-ranging without crying up special theories. This is, moreover, a cultural history in which is implicit the knowledge that ideas do not follow simply from other ideas, that cultural history interprets and modifies political and economic history but rides on their currents and is swayed by their events.
"A rich and readable introduction to the whole sweep of Russian cultural and intellectual history from Kievan times to the post-Khruschev era." - Library Journal. Illustrations, references, index.