Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations.
After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars. Nikita Khrushchev reversed the worst excesses of Stalinism, and in 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on radical reforms of the communist system - unleashing unforeseen consequences that swept him from power and destroyed the USSR.
Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia in the 1980s and ‘90s to his narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union lost its grip on power. He asks if the recurring patterns of Russian history can help us understand what has happened since 1991, when the promise of Western-style democracy aroused so many hopes for change.
Eyewitness accounts, archive recordings and personal testimony enrich his narrative, as well as readings from Russian authors and historians such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vasily Grossman, plus music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and others.
Listen to Russia: Part One: From Rulers to Revolutions.
©2011 Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd. Text copyright Martin Sixsmith (P)2011 AudioGO Ltd
There is an astonishing lack of proportion and emphasis. The communist regime killed millions of peasants. The prison system established by the communists was a source of slave labor as well as a means of suppressing dissent. The Russians dealt with minorities in a particularly bloody and brutal manner. While each of these topics is covered, it is hasty. Instead, Martin Sixsmith spends an inordinate amount of time on covering the day-to-day minutia of the USSR's downfall and his coverage of it for the BBC.
I have read his Putin's Oil which is a superior work.
This is a rebroadcast of BBC's "Russia: The Wild East, Part 2" presented in 25 episodes. Although Sixsmith is the primary narrator, there are interviews, clips from news accounts, tape recorded speeches of historical figures, quotes from poems, choirs singing in the background, etc. In many respects the historical characters speak for themselves.
There is far too much turf to cover for this to be made into a movie.
Martin Sixsmith is a BBC journalist who served in the USSR, Poland, and Washington. He was Tony Blair's Director of Communications and has written both fiction and non-fiction books. I would recommend this audiobook for someone who wants a general overview of the events of the past century. However, it does not come close to describing the full magnitude of atrocities perpetrated by the Soviet regime.
I liked this audiobook very much specially because of the "practical" approach the author gives to the Russian History. He and his personal experience as a journalist in Russia during the late 20th century make it specially interesting.
I've listened to other audiobooks on Russian History, including Stalin's biography and I couldn't keep focused as on this one.
I really enjoyed this audiobook and so far, three weeks after buying it, I've heard it more than twice
75 yr old MWF. I like historical novels with more history than story. Audiobooks shouldn't have too many characters.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook to anyone, whether they know Russian history very well, or not at all. It is more than a mere audiobook; it's a BBC radio series. Sixsmith makes us feel that we are there with him in the various historical spots, and there is wonderful Russian classical and folk music to accompany us on our journey!
This is a very tough question, because so many characters in Russian history are colorful and amazing -- think of St Vladimir, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Rasputin, Lenin and Stalin, Krushchev, Gorbachev -- how could anyone possibly select a favorite? I choose the marvelous panorama of them all!
He knows how to pronounce Russian correctly, he has a wonderful personality, and he made me feel that I was there to witness each event. He must have been collecting Russian music all his life. I wish I had it all on CDs.
Yes --his relating of the horrors of the Stalinist regime, especially that after Russia won World War II, losing millions of soldiers, all the ones who had ever been in any other country, such as Germany, were put into prison when they got home -- or shot to death, because they had witnessed a higher standard of living.
Don't miss this marvelous performance!
I would. It has some parts of Soviet history I didn't know about until now.
I can't think of anything to compare it to.
He didn't perform them, but his interviews are impressive.
Wintnes to History.
Dynamic survey of Soviet history from the revolution up through Putin
Story-teller really knew his stuff -- knew the people, the places,a nd the context of the things he describes
Growing up during the cold war, there were many things we didn't know at the time, that have only been revealed with the release of Soviet archives. Similarly, there were a lot things that happened in the post-Gorbachev era that I remember when the happened, but didn't have a great understanding of what they meant. This book rectified all that.
Yes I would. This part was very interesting, I learned a great deal.
Narrator, he was great. Lived through this and he was very engaing.
no, I knew what was comming. I lived through this.
It made me want to visit Saint Petersburg more than ever.
This is a very well produced audio program that draws you in and makes it very easy to lose track of time.
"It started well..."
Astonishing to listen to a series begin as a fascinating insight into Russian history, only to descend into a vituperative anti-socialist diatribe that would not have been out of place in the Thatcher era.
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