Help me find a specific book about Russian history?
May 20, 2019 7:46 PM   Subscribe

About 15 years ago I bought & read a used paperback about Russian history that I seem to have misplaced, and I'd like to find it again. I think the green is my best chance! Here's what I remember about it, although this could be wrong: first published in the 1950s, in Britain, for a general (i.e. non-academic) audience, broadly surveying Russian history from about the early days of the Rus through the Russian Revolution. I'd like to give a copy as a gift.

In my recollection, it was also written by a female Oxbridge (maybe?) historian. What stands out to me was that it was well-written and sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes. Does anyone have any clues that might help me find it?
posted by paul_smatatoes to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(nb: I already looked in Ask MeFi search results and didn't see anything that I thought was this book, but I could be wrong!)
posted by paul_smatatoes at 7:52 PM on May 20, 2019

The Pageant of Russian History (Kirkus Review), by Elizabeth Seeger?
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:11 PM on May 20, 2019

I have a book that in some ways fits your description, in some ways doesn't: Russia : A Concise History. The original version is from 1972, so not the fifties. I have the edition I linked to on Amazon, from 1991. I just looked at it, and it has very nice illustrations. If there is anything specific you can remember, I can look for it.
posted by mumimor at 11:19 PM on May 20, 2019

Iris Gambol, that's the one! Confirmed by looking for one of the passages I recalled:
The princes assembled over eighty thousand men, crossed the Dnieper and rode for nine days over the steppe, guided by the Polovtses. They met the Tartars near the Kalka, a little river that flows into the Sea of Azov. The Polovtses, encouraged by the help they had received, led the attack; but as soon as they met their terrible enemies they broke and fled through the Russian lines, throwing everything into disorder. The Russians fought splendidly but were driven back and pursued by the Tartars. Six princes, seventy great boyars, tens of thousands of soldiers lay dead on the field. The Prince of Kiev and two others would not leave the Kalka but entrenched themselves on a small hill and fought for three days. The Tartars promised them their freedom if they would pay a ransom, so they yielded. The Tartars promptly killed all their followers, bound the three princes and laid them on the ground. Then they put planks across their bodies and sat, drinking and feasting, on this platform while the princes died slowly beneath them. This was in 1224.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 11:32 PM on May 23, 2019

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