Best Books for Understanding Russian History?

Charbel Makhlouf

Now that I'm attending a ROCOR Church and learning about Russian Saints, I'm realizing how important it is to understand Russian History so I can put it all in context.

Not just since the Russian Revolution, but before that with all the various Czar, wars, masonic influence, etc.

Knowing how history is so often twisted and re-written and distorted to suit political purposes, I wanted to ask for recommendations that give a completely honest account. If E. Michael Jones wrote a book on Russian History, I'd simply buy that.

Are there any historians/writers that are sort of the E. Michael Jones or Michael Hoffman of Russian History?


Gold Member
I found this on the sidewalk today which someone was giving away with some other items, old CDs, clothes, etc..

It's in the Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language (Толковый словарь живого великорусского языка) by Vladimir Dal.

I don't know if it answers your question but it looks like it'd be a good resource if you can read Russian.

I'm very thankful to have come across this book which someone decided to give away. It's beautiful.


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A lot of the most common Russian history books that you might find at a Barnes and Noble or someplace like that are essentially anti-Russian propaganda works by liberal writers like Anne Applebaum and Masha Gessen who have made their entire careers producing media to intellectually prepare Western intelligentsia for a new cold war with Russia.
However, there do exist old histories out there, written during the twentieth century when there actually was a degree of respect for the Russian people among some Western intellectuals. Russia at War (1964) by Alexander Werth was the best history of the Eastern Front of World War II that I have ever read, and communicated well the colossal role of Russia in that war and the central role that that struggle for survival plays in the Russian conscience.
Another book I liked was The Last Tsar by Edward Radzinsky about Nicholas II. That author also has a biography of Alexander II that I have not read. There is also the historian Hedrick Smith, who wrote The Russians in 1976 about life in the Soviet period and then put out the sequel The New Russians in 1991 to cover the Gorbachev period and the fall of the USSR.
These are all just secular histories of modern Russia that would not really be connected to your study of Russian Orthodoxy. You would probably want to get into Orthodox history, which I don't have any recommendations for off the top of my head but a good Orthodox bookstore is always a wonderland to explore.


The Icon and the Axe, by James H. Billington, the former Librarian of Congress. Classic, long, dry, but packed with long Russian history.