Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall
"A compassionate glimpse into the extremes where the new Russia meets the old," writes Robert Legvold (Foreign Affairs) about Andrew Meier's enthralling new work. Journeying across a resurgent and reputedly free land, Meier has produced a virtuosic mix of nuanced history, lyric travelogue, and unflinching reportage. Throughout, Meier captures the country's present limbo—a land rich in potential but on the brink of staggering back into tyranny—in an account that is by turns heartrending and celebratory, comic and terrifying. A 2003 New York Public Library Book to Remember. "Black Earth is the best investigation of post-Soviet Russia since David Remnick's Resurrection. Andrew Meier is a truly penetrating eyewitness."—Robert Conquest, author of The Great Terror; "If President Bush were to read only the chapters regarding Chechnya in Meier's Black Earth, he would gain a priceless education about Putin's Russia."—Zbigniew Brzezinski "Even after the fall of Communism, most American reporting on Russia often goes no further than who's in and who's out in the Kremlin and the business oligarchy. Andrew Meier's Russia reaches far beyond . . . this Russia is one where, as Meier says, history has a hard time hiding. Readers could not easily find a livelier or more insightful guide."—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin "From the pointless war in Chechnya to the wild, exhilarating, and dispiriting East and the rise of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer—it's all here in great detail, written in the layers the story deserves, with insight, passion, and genuine affection."—Michael Specter, staff writer, The New Yorker; co-chief, The New York Times Moscow Bureau, 1995-98. "[Meier's] knowledge of the country and his abiding love for its people stands out on every page of this book....But it is his linguistic fluency, in particular, which enables Mr. Meier to dig so deeply into Russia's black earth."—The Economist "A wonderful travelogue that depicts the Russian people yet again trying to build a new life without really changing their old one."—William Taubman, The New York Times Book Review.
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