Russia

A Historical Introduction from Kievan Rus’ to the Present


John M. Thompson and Christopher J. Ward

Eighth Edition • July 5, 2017 • 416 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813349855 • $50.00 USD$64.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350776 • $34.99 USD$44.99 CAN

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Available July 2017

This lucid account of Russian and Soviet history presents major trends and events from ancient Kievan Rus’ to Vladimir Putin’s renewed presidency in the twenty-first century. Russia does not shy away from controversial topics, including the impact of the Mongol conquest, the paradoxes of Peter the Great, the “inevitability” of the 1917 Revolution, the Stalinist terror, and the Gorbachev reform effort. Tackling those topics and others, the new edition is updated to discuss the Russia-Georgia war of 2008, the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine of 2013-2014, the war in eastern Ukraine, and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Distinguished by its brevity and amply supplemented with useful images and suggested readings, this essential text provides balanced coverage of all periods of Russian history and incorporates economic, social, and cultural developments as well as politics and foreign policy.


John M. Thompson, a graduate of Columbia’s Russian Institute, taught history at Indiana University for seventeen years and was a distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Air War College. He is currently teaching Russian and world history at Midcoast Senior College in Maine.

Christopher J. Ward received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches Russian and world history at Clayton State University in metropolitan Atlanta and is the author of Brezhnev’s Folly: The Building of BAM and Late Soviet Socialism.

Chapter 1: Ancient Russia and Kievan Rus’
Chapter 2: Kievan Rus’ in Crisis and the Mongol Contact, 1054–1462
Chapter 3: The Rise of Moscow, 1328–1533
Chapter 4: Ivan the Terrible and the Time of Troubles, 1533–1618
Chapter 5: The Molding of Russian Society, 1613–1689
Chapter 6: Peter the Great and the Conundrum of Westernization, 1689–1725
Chapter 7: Change and Continuity, 1725–1801
Chapter 8: Autocracy, Dissent, and Ferment, 1801–1855
Chapter 9: Reform, Reaction, and Modernization, 1855–1904
Chapter 10: Revolution, Reform, and War, 1904–1917
Chapter 11: Revolution, Civil War, and the Founding of the Soviet State, 1917–1928
Chapter 12: The Stalin Revolution and World War II, 1928–1946
Chapter 13: The Soviet Union During the Cold War: Superpower, Stability, and Stagnation, 1946–1984
Chapter 14: Gorbachev and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1985–1991
Chapter 15: Russia in a Post-Soviet World, 1991–2000
Chapter 16: The Putin Era: Russia in the Twenty-First Century

Praise for Prior Editions

“A detailed volume…providing students with a clear survey of key issues affecting the country and its peoples. Any college-level introductory course in Soviet Union history will find this an excellent text.”
The Midwest Book Review

“Comprehensive, balanced, up to date, engaging, and deftly written, Russia and the Soviet Union is the best brief history of Russia available today. The book is perfectly suited for use in introductory courses on Russian history and for general readers seeking to make sense of Russia over the centuries. Thompson has packed a lifetime of thoughtful reflection, teaching, and distinguished research into this volume.”
—Donald J. Raleigh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Through a fresh format and effective revisions, John Thompson has rendered still more succinct what was already a very neat, comprehensive and highly readable text. With updated biographies (‘Further Reading’) in several chapters and some new illustrations, as well as an additional chapter on Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia and the Soviet Union in its sixth edition remains a superlative text for both students of Russian history and the casual reader.”
—Vicki Hendrickson Grove, University of Colorado, Boulder

Russia and the Soviet Union is a superb one-semester text for a course in Russian history from origins to the near-present. Thompson does a judicious job of introducing key debates and does not hesitate to express his own considered opinion where warranted. The balanced coverage of medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods is extremely important for introductory courses, as is the newly revised section of Russia under Putin. Overall, this is a readable, exciting, stimulating book which always has students asking for more.”
—David W. McFadden, Fairfield University

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