Robert Legvold

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

Until now, there have been no broad-based studies of the vexed contemporary U.S.-Russian relationship in English -- or, for that matter, in Russian. This volume fills that void admirably.

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

Brown warns of the dangers of leaders who, whether in a democracy or a tyranny, seek to dominate policy and all those around them.

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

The countries of the former Soviet Union form fertile ground for the study of how powerful security forces, opportunities for corruption, and the tug of war between local bosses and central authorities can combine to produce fragile states.

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

This book will enthrall anyone who has visited the Kremlin or gazed at pictures of it, presenting as it does a wonderfully detailed story of the fortress’ many incarnations over the centuries.

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

In this graceful, luxuriant history, Starr recovers the stunning contributions of Central Asian scientists, architects, artists, engineers, and historians during the four centuries that began just before the Arab onslaught of the eighth century.

Capsule Review
2014
Robert Legvold

Sometimes, meaning emerges from analysis; other times, from searing, soul-shaking experience.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Robert Legvold

Making five centuries of Habsburg history fun seems like a tall order, but Winder pulls it off; He entertains because he is entertained.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Robert Legvold

Hargittai, a distinguished Hungarian chemist, relates 12 compact biographies of scientific giants such as Igor Tamm, Andrei Sakharov, Nikolai Semenov, and Yuli Khariton, some of whom he knew personally.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Robert Legvold

This memoir is like a photo album of images from Farkas’ life arrayed alongside all the contextual details of the four decades of Hungarian history the author covers.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Robert Legvold

Savodnik recounts almost month by month Oswald’s life in Minsk: his work, friends, conversations, and romances, thanks in part to intensive interviews with those who knew him or “handled” him.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Robert Legvold

Among the cascade of recent books about Vladimir Putin, this one stands out because it is not quite a biography or an explanation of the man but rather a history of how he and those who surround him built the system that has guided Russia for the last 13 years -- and now misguides it.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Robert Legvold

Karlip uses the lives of three seminal figures -- Yisroel Efroikin, Zelig Kalmanovitch, and Elias Tcherikower -- to tell the story of Jewish nationalism's early idealism, inspired in part by the 1905 Russian Revolution, through its decay in the wake of World War I and the Holocaust.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

A definitive biography of a writer as transcendent as Franz Kafka might be unattainable, but in his massive trilogy, Stach comes as close as one can.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

Although Central Asia has faded from public view as the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan staggers to an end, the region remains important.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

Ledeneva explores the informal, sometimes illegal way things get done in Russia -- through connections, bribes, and favors.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

This is a brilliant study of Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest who championed Slovak independence and allied himself with Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

The bizarre tale of Father Dmitri Dudko staggers the imagination.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Robert Legvold

Rarely does an outsider get to experience Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as intimately as Shishkin, a Russian-born journalist who writes for Western media and who has made his way into virtually every turbulent moment in the recent history of these countries.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

In considering the bloody and stupifyingly complicated last chapter of the Yugoslav wars, most outsiders view the Kosovo Liberation Army with only slightly less distaste than they do the former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. Pettifer sees matters differently.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

Smoking may seem a curious route into Bulgarian history, but given the centrality of tobacco to the country’s commerce, examining it allows Neuburger to add depth to many facets of Bulgarian social and political life as the country moved from the tutelage of the Ottoman Empire to autonomy after 1877, through the crosscurrents of World War I and its revolutionary aftermath, and to the genocide of World War II and then the confused heavy hand of communist overlordship.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

To hold their own in the nuclear arms race, both the United States and the Soviet Union built sealed-off cities to harvest plutonium. Brown focuses on the history of the two pioneering examples: the Richland community in eastern Washington State and Ozersk, in the southern Urals.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

Tsygankov believes that the Russian sense of honor is the key to understanding the long history of the country’s relations with the West. His exegesis applies well to the Putin era, but for the larger picture, theory’s demand for tidiness forces a certain amount of cutting and splicing of history.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

Not many countries have produced an academic-cum-official who could or would write a book like this. Gaidar, a scholar-economist, was the architect of Russian economic reform in the Yeltsin era. He completed this genuine magnum opus in 2005, four years before his death, at age 53. In it, he traces all of economic history back to the late Stone Age and places the long path of Russian economic development in this extraordinary context.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Robert Legvold

Of the many biographies of Vladimir Putin that have appeared in recent years, this one is the most useful, particularly to foreign-policy makers, many of whom must work with a crude or muddled understanding of what makes the Russian leader tick.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2013
Robert Legvold

The character of the civic values embraced by the generation born after the collapse of the Soviet Union has obvious importance in understanding the prospects of post-Soviet societies. Fournier, an anthropologist, spent the turbulent year of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution observing and interacting with teenagers and their teachers in two Kiev high schools, one public and one private.