The books for the next year

Today my wife sent me to the bookstore to buy books that will be her New Year present to me. A common and very comfortable practice in our family :).

I spent about three hours in the bookstore and here's my choice:

First, the three volumes of "The Russian Revolution" by Richard Pipes. I've heard a lot about Pipes and read some interviews with him, but never read his books. If what I read is true, I strongly disagree with the Pipes' views of Russia and Russian history. Moreover, I think that our concepts of democracy are irreconcilable. Okay, I know, I am not a specialist in political studies, nor in the history of democracy and he, probably, knows better. This way or the other, his book on the Russian revolution is one of the most authoritative studies in this area. Russian historians have not produced anything comparable with this book yet and I am sure it will provide a lot of information to think about.

Second, there are two books from a new series "The witnesses of the epoch". The first one is the recollections of Katerina Breshko-Breshkovskaya, a participant of the early revolutionary movement. The book was published in English under the title "The Hidden Springs of the Russian Revolution". It covers the period from 1873 till 1920. She tells the story of her own life and analyzes the failures and achievements of the socialist movement in Russia.

The second book from the same series is "The Great Russian Revolution" by Victor Chernov, a minister in the Provisional Government and the chairman of the Constituent Assembly. I hope this book will help me understand the causes of the revolution better.

And, finally, "The Medieval Venice" (Venise au Moyen Age) by Jean-Claude Hocquet. About a year ago I tried to find books about the Italian "maritime republics" and, at last, here's one of such books. I am very curious about these formations — how did they function, were they really republics, what was the role of the educated people in these countries?

Unfortunately, I will have to wait till the New Year before I manage to peek into these books :).

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and those who don't!


Craig said...

Hi, Dmitri-

Will be interested to learn what you think of Pipes's books, particularly to learn whether your prior beliefs change after reading them, and if so (not), why (not). I've written about Pipes in several of my SWP posts.

I've been looking to see whether you've commented on my review of Gaidar's book, which I posted last week. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for the Merry Christmas Wishes. Same to you and yours.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

AKA The Streetwise Professor

Craig said...

One other thought. William H. McNeill's "Venice: Hinge of Europe 1081-1797" is an older, but interesting book about the Venetian Republic, written by a preeminent historian. It is currently out of print, but I've seen it available online.

Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Merry Christmas Dmitri!

Svet & Kyle Keeton

Dmitri Minaev said...

Thanks, Craig! Of course, I will post my impressions of the Pipes' work as soon as my wife lets me lay my hands on that book :)

I have read your review of "The Collapse of the Empire" and I really liked it. Terse, sharp and precise. There's little I can add, but I will try to verbalize some vague impressions that I'd like to share.

As for that book by McNeill, I heard about it, but, unfortunately, I have to limit myself to the books published in Russia, they are way cheaper. Well, not all of them, I bought Pipes for about $27. But, still, most of the English books are too expensive for me, especially considering the shipping costs. The unreliability of the Russian postal service is another reason for me to avoid buying things at Amazon and other similar services. I have already lost some books.

Happy holidays!

Dmitri Minaev said...

Thanks, Kyle and Svet! Merry holidays to you both!