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Russka: The Novel of Russia [Paperback]

Edward Rutherfurd
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2005
"Impressive."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Spanning 1800 years of Russia's history, people, poltics, and culture, Edward Rurtherford, author of the phenomenally successful SARUM: THE NOVEL OF ENGLAND, tells a grand saga that is as multifaceted as Russia itself. Here is a story of a great civilization made human, played out through the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land.
"Rutherford's RUSSKA succeeds....[He] can take his place among an elite cadre of chroniclers such as Harold Lamb, Maurice Hindus and Henri Troyat."
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

With his second sprawling historical novel, Rutherfurd moves from his hometown of Salisbury, England, the site of the bestselling Sarum , to the rich foreign soil of Russia. Though the structure and style mirror that of his first saga, Rutherfurd's close observation of Russia's religious and ethnic diversity give this epic a distinctive flavor. Focusing on the changing fortunes of the small town of Russka and its controlling families, Rutherfurd moves from the tribes of the steppes in the second century A.D. through Cossacks, Tatars, Tsars, revolution and Stalin to touch on a contemporary Russian emigre community near New York City. He weaves an expansive tapestry of Russian lore with a vivid exploration of the historical influences on the modern Russian psyche. Though thoroughly researched, the novel is diminished by occasional soap-opera twists in the narrative thread and present-day phrasing ("pin money," "red tape," "heads or tails") used in distracting asides to the reader. Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his newest novel, Rutherfurd does for Russia what his last novel, Sarum ( LJ 9/15/87), did for England. Focusing on a small farming community in the Russian heartland between the Dnieper and the Don at the edge of the steppes, he traces its growth through its inhabitants from the first Tatar raid on the Slavs through the Cossacks, aristocrats, and an emigre's recent return. These interconnected lives present a vast panoramic portrait of Russia and its history. However, abundance of historic detail, fascinating though it is, intrudes and overwhelms. Transitions from intertwined stories of succeeding generations are abrupt and the reader longs for more character and plot development. Recommended for devotees of James Michener and Sarum . Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91.
- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and readable Dec 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Briefly, Russka is a novel that follows two families through the rich and dramatic history of one of the most powerful countries in the world today. I am currently on a Russian literature binge and bought this book to read after finishing War and Peace. Expecting a bland modern twist on War and Peace, I was delighted to find that this book explores not only the lives and emotions of the characters, but also the anthropological aspects of its history, including genetic characteristics, social class structure, and linguistics. (As a scholar of anthropology and archaeology I found this fascinating.) I suppose my one complaint would be that because this novel spans about one thousand years it makes it more difficult to follow the character lineage. (Although I do understand the author's intent.) I found myself referring to the family tree at the beginning of the book quite a bit. The trials and tribulations of the families in the novel are believable and interesting, and like War and Peace I found the characters realistic, yet I found the most rewarding aspect of the novel the fact that I have a new and better understanding of the Russian people. The origin of the features, the personality, the passion, the strength that are distinctly Russian has been revealed to me. Am I now closer to understanding Russia's strange, twisted social and political past and its wonderful people? Perhaps I am, but like all good books Russka left me with the hunger to learn more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional July 12 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rutherford's novels always take me to the time and place of each event. He vividly describes the landscape and the people in a way that most ordianry historians fail to do. Russka, by far, is the best I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend it to anyone! Best book I ever read. June 28 2000
By Elianna
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first picked up this book at the library when I was doing research on russian history. After looking at the number of pages, I quickly put it down. It was only after I finished my project that I decided that I would buy the book because I found russian history so fascinating. I was not dissapointed. Mr. Rutherfurd goes into such detail that you grow to love the characters, you grow to understand russian culture so much more. So many people are still clinging to the steriotypes of Communist Russia: if they could read this book, I am sure that they would understand our friends in the east. What I enjoyed the most about the book was the fact that it was also educational. I even learned things that I did not discover in my studies. But that doesn't mean that if you know nothing about Russia that you won't understand the book, far from that. Rutherfurd takes the time to explain what is happening, so the reader is never lost. I'd recommend this book to anyone. If a 17 year old can read it and enjoy it, anyone can.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russka June 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loving this book----just as good as all his other novels------particularly enjoy the history and variety of characters. I always learn something interesting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Tale of Russia April 10 2014
By P. Halliday TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. I would appreciate a better map and a glossary of terms with a time line in the back of the book. The map and family tree at the beginning are not as helpful as they might be. The map should be modernized to a Google Maps type format to suit the modern eye. The Family tree that also serves as table of contents and time line is too small to read easily and takes too much time to locate and understand when information is needed to understand the story's continuity from chapter to chapter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russian History Brought to Life Sept. 23 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Edward Rutherford not only follows the historical development of Russia but infuses its history with the emotional lives of its characters both fictional and real. Each chapter is a story in itself yet all culminate in a profound understanding of Russian history and the hearts and minds of its people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating introduction to old Russia April 27 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a history buff but not very familiar with Russian history. I found this a very engrossing book, much in the style of Michener's books. I was fascinated with the early portions of the book, beginning with the predecessors of the Golden Horde, continuing on through the era of Peter the Great. It shows the cruelty & magnificence of Mother Russia in her glory, touching on the plight of the serfs & the magnificence of the ruling class. It really piqued my interest in reading further on those eras in Russian history. My only criticism is that the book bogs down a bit as it reaches the late 1700s. The families become less interesting, & even their "contact" with Catherine the Great isn't particularly interesting. It gets confusing with the introduction of Marxists during the 1800s, although it probably reflects the confusion felt by those actually living through that period of time. There is virtually nothing about Communism after the fall of Nicholas, although most of us are familiar with the realities of that period. It would also make for a good sequel--following the families through that era (& WWII)!
But, it's a great read overall. I highly recommend it. And as I said, it made me a Russian history buff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russkie Business March 12 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As an Anglophile, I fell in love with Rutherfurd's 3 novels of England. I really wasn't sure about reading Russka, but I took a small risk based on the other books. Again, Rutherfurd engages the reader and holds one's attention for nearly 1000 pages. In the process, one is educated about a mysterious and complex land and its people. The only thing I want is more Rutherfurd!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done
This excellent work employs the same formula as in Rutherfurd's first book, Sarum: The Novel of England, which, as I have said in my review of that excellent work, is one of my all... Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2010 by C. J. Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Rutherfurd's best novel
I have read a number of books by Rutherfurd, including Sarum, the Forest, and London. In my opinion each of these novels was excellent to outstanding. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2007 by D. Brocks
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Weave of Storytelling and HIstory
Like his English history novels Sarum and London, Rutherfurd puts people into history in a way that leaves you feeling as though you've lived in their time and place. Read more
Published on June 20 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Spassiva
Reading Rutherfurd brings instantly one other author to mind, the late James Michener. Like Michener (most of his books, at least), Rutherfurd chooses one specific place (London,... Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2003 by J R Zullo
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine Read, But Pale Imitation of Russian Originals
I was very, very sceptical of Russka from the moment it was first published. It would be impossible, I thought, to novelize over a thousand years of incredibly rich history. Read more
Published on April 3 2003 by jrmspnc
4.0 out of 5 stars Big book; somewhat weak ending
This novel is, of course, a historical novel about Russia. The author seems to be most interested in the period before 1800 or so. After he reaches 1800 the books drags a bit. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Russia
I was looking for a novel that would, hopefully, possess me. I was traveling to Russia, and I wanted an education in Russian history while enjoying a great story. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2001 by C. Dabney
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Depiction of a Much Maligned Nation
This was my first book by Rutherford, read even before SARUM. I've been mildly interested in Russia for a while, and I was intrigued to see the book... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2001 by "jochrid"
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