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Myths and Realities

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

An expert historian and former ambassador to Moscow unlocks fact from fiction to reveal what lies at the root of the Russian story.

Churchill remarked that Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That has become an excuse for intellectual laziness. Russia is not all that different from anywhere else. But you have to disentangle the facts from the myths created both by the Russians themselves and by those who dislike them.

In this dynamic new history, Rodric Braithwaite—Russia expert and former ambassador to Moscow—does exactly that, unpicking fact from fiction to discover what lies at the root of the Russian story.

Russia is the largest country in the world, with the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. Over a thousand years this multifaceted nation of shifting borders has been known as Rus, Muscovy, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union. Thirty years ago it was reinvented as the Russian Federation. Like the rest of us, the Russians constantly rewrite their history. They, too, omit episodes of national disgrace in favor of patriotic anecdotes, sometimes more rooted in myth than reality.

Russia is not an enigma, but its past is violent, tragic, sometimes glorious, and always complicated.

About The Author

Sir Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador to Moscow during the crucial end of the Cold War (1988-92). Subsequently he was foreign policy advisor to British Prime Minister John Major. His previous books include the highly praised Moscow 1941 (Knopf) and Afgantsy (Oxford University Press).  He lives in England.

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

Praise for Roderick Braithwaite’s Moscow 1941:

“A remarkable epic, vividly portrayed.”

– Max Hastings

“A symphonic evocation of a great city at war.”

– The New Yorker

"Braithwaite delivers a tragically human Moscow of 1941, victorious but traumatized.”

– Booklist

“The reader staggers from laughter to tears, while never forgetting that blood is flowing.”

– Simon Sebag Montefiore

“A wonderful book about a battle that was in fact the biggest in world history. The book is also an excellent addition to a series of recent English language histories that evoke for the Western reader how the Soviet experience must—on a daily basis and by people from different social strata—have been lived.”

– The Washington Post

“Although the siege was a miserable experience for Muscovites, readers will enjoy reading about it. This is an absorbing contribution to what he considers WWII’s turning point.”

– Publishers Weekly

“If asked to recommend a single book on Soviet history, I think I might propose Moscow 1941. The twelve months it covers saw the pivotal event of the Soviet era, the point at which the regime survived the full blast of one of history's mightiest war machines and bought another half century of existence. Understand what happened here, and you understand Soviet history.”

– Moscow Times

“A vivid picture of the stark and bloody struggle for national struggle with which Russia’s war began. As military epics go, Hitler’s lightning assault on Moscow in June 1941 and the desperate but successful defense of the Russian capital that winter can hardly be matched. It has an able chronicler in Sir Rodric Braithwaite.”

– The Economist

“A wide-ranging and excellent account. Braithwaite never shirks the terrible truths.”

– Antony Beevor, The Sunday Times (London)

“He has succeeded triumphantly in restoring the Battle for Moscow to its proper place in history.”

– The Daily Telegraph

“A masterful account.”

– The Times (London)

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