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  • The Story of Russia

  • By: Orlando Figes
  • Narrated by: David Sibley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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The Story of Russia

By: Orlando Figes
Narrated by: David Sibley
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Story of Russia by Orlando Figes, read by David Sibley.

From the great storyteller of Russia, a spellbinding account of the stories that have shaped the country’s past—and how they can inform its present.

No other country has been so divided over its own past as Russia. None has changed its story so often. How the Russians came to tell their story, and to reinvent it as they went along, is a vital aspect of their history, their culture and beliefs. To understand what Russia’s future holds—to grasp what Putin’s regime means for Russia and the world—we need to unravel the ideas and meanings of that history.

In The Story of Russia, Orlando Figes brings into sharp relief the vibrant characters that comprise Russia’s rich history, and whose stories remain so important in making sense of the world’s largest nation today—from the crowning of sixteen-year-old Ivan the Terrible in a candlelit cathedral, to Catherine the Great, riding out in a green uniform to arrest her husband at his palace, to the bitter last days of the Romanovs.

Beautifully written and based on a lifetime of scholarship, The Story of Russia is a major and definitive work from the great storyteller of Russian history: sweeping, suspenseful, masterful.

©2022 Orlando Figes (P)2022 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"The history book you need if you want to understand modern Russia." (Anne Applebaum)

"A magnificent, magisterial thousand-year history of Russia...by one of the masters of Russian scholarship." (Simon Sebag Montefiore)

"A great historian at the peak of his powers." (William Dalrymple)

What listeners say about The Story of Russia

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Thorough and well read

I started this knowing virtually nothing about Russian history. I found this audiobook is he thorough without being in-depth to the point of boredom. Fascinating at times and we’ll worth a listen.

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A thorough analysis

Like the previous reviewer, o knew next to nothing about Russian history except for odd key characters and few key words like ‘revolution’.
I admit to starting at chapter 11 (Audible ‘chapter numbers’ seem to be two more than the ones being read out (!))
Figes paints a very clear picture of the development of the Soviet character and long-suffering trials of the peoples, esp Second World War and the ‘purges’ which explained a lot.
It explained a recent comment by aRussian woman on TV news, who was asked about the escalating war. She said ‘ I don’t care anymore, I can put up with anything’.
It seems that German and French politicians understand all this better than the English speaking world (as they did about Iraq and Saddam H ) and their advice should be listened to.

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Enlightening

Given the current political climate (October’22), this book helps to explain why these issues have risen. I was totally ignorant of the Russian history and this book has given me a newfound respect for our freedom of speech in our media. I used to blame our media for making many problems, especially highlighting many minority groups, however now I see the alternative option where government dictates what you believe and hear, to be so archaic it is deplorable. I think I would have to listen to this book at least 3 times if I was going to fully take it in.

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Not grounded in historical fact

Asserts that Russian state existed from the time of Kievan Rus, just plain wrong.

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Essential reading

This book is well written and read, and gives insights into what made modern Russia, by highlighting the key events in its history. An essential read or listen, to anyone wondering just what Russia is up to today in its war with Ukraine, and its failed relationships with Europe and the USA.

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Essential Russia Primer

Figes has written a fast paced short history of Russia from the Medieval period to the current (as of 2023) invasion of Ukraine. He has also brilliantly summarised the main themes that have dominated Russia's history for the past millennium. These themes are important to understand for anyone trying to come to grips with the driving narratives promoted by Vladimir Putin. If this is your aim, start with this book. It is well narrated and easy to listen to.

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Good listen

Informative, but could be written in an easier to follow manner with further breakdown of chapters.

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