finished "Woke Racism" and now on to "Woke, Inc" books

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I would like recommendations of books on Russian History, especially the Soviet Union.

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I should begin by saying that I am not a virgin on Russian history. I have an MA in history. I took a year of Russian history as an undergraduate, and a semester as a grad student. Unfortunately, that was so long ago that the Soviet Union was still a going concern with 20 years left to go. Since then, I have read books on Russian history whenever I saw a notice of one that looked promising. When we took our big tour of Russia a few years ago, I read up a lot before we left, including War & Peace. Further my Mother was born in Soviet Union (150 versts SE of Kyiv). She emigrated when she was 12, knew Russian, got a PhD in Russian lit and taught the subject at a University in our city for many years.

All of the above left me with a deep and abiding suspicion of Russian historiography which, in my estimation, has been profoundly distorted by Russian nationalism. The leading example of this has been the persistent mischaracterization of the relation between the Kievan Rus and the Russian State. A mythology which has a Russian Army besieging Kyiv as I write this.

Leave it to a historian writing about the Mongols and the Golden Horde to give a detailed and nuanced explanation of the growth of Muscovy as a vassal to the Golden Horde. Razib interviewed her: Marie Favereau: the Golden Horde and world history https://razib.substack.com/p/marie-favereau-the-golden-horde-and

When my son, who is a mathematician not a historian, asked me for recommendations for books on Soviet and more general Russian history, I thought to ask here.

One of the punters on Razib's other blog, gnxp.com, recommended:

Russia and the Russians: A History, Second Edition by Geoffrey Hosking


I thank @Robert Ford for his recommendation of The Great Courses: A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev, and The Great Courses: Understanding Russia: A Cultural History

Here are my thoughts on further reflection:

I read: The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore


I thought it was well written and taught me a number of things I had not previously known. I will recommend it to my son

Another book I really enjoyed was

Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes


I don't think it is good for readers who are not familiar with Russian Literature and history.

But he is good enough writer that it would probably be worthwhile to read:

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes


Which was revised and expanded after the curtain fell on the last act as:

Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History Paperback – April 7, 2015


He also is publishing in October of this year:

The Story of Russia by Orlando Figes


I'll bet he is kicking himself for not getting that manuscript in sooner.

I would welcome any additional thoughts anyone has.

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i guess i could also say The Great Courses: A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev (on sale for $6!!!) and The Great Courses: Understanding Russia: A Cultural History (free with membership) are pretty good deals.

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i've read probably 10-15 in the last several years and, honestly, most of them go in one ear and out the other. the only one that was riveting was "Stalin's secret agents" but that's not exactly a regular history book. right now i'm reading anne applebaum's "Iron Curtain" and then "Stalin's War: A New History of World War II"

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I recently read Trivers' "The Folly of Fools"* and was surprised how candid he was about his own self-deception, irrationality and undignified behavior (like compulsive kleptomania). But I wasn't aware of that history of interpersonal aggression or any mental diagnosis.

*Review here: https://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/the-folly-of-fools/

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he's bipolar

he's threatened ppl. that's why he had to leave rutgers. there was a knife incident once in jamaica? anyway, it's 2020s. you can't be aggressive so he's still looking for an academic spot last i hear

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Wikipedia refers to him as still being at Rutgers. Perhaps his departure wasn't publicized anywhere it would consider a reliable source.

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he may still be listed as affiliated but i think he's basically not there after the harassment/threat allegation

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Random question but something I've been meaning to ask you sometime: at this point what do you consider yourself? I've been reading you for years and tend to think of you as "scientist guy who talks about DNA stuff a lot" (grossly oversimplifying, of course). But with all the writing and science communication and podcasting and now substacking you do, I am curious how you think of yourself career/profession-wise.

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Mar 3, 2022·edited Mar 4, 2022Author

i still do science, but keep that discrete. but yes, i do enough 'content-creation' that i have to admit that is what i am in part.

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ok. I just bought Richard Wrangham's book on Kindle base on above.

My hesitation was his thesis (just based on reading some reviews/summaries) is we became human through domestication. And...at this point I think that's not even really a scientific statement, more of a stamp collecting observation. That is, any theory of what made us human has to come from the larger (correct) theoretical framework of gene-culture evolution. Which in turn firmly rests on the theoretical framework from evolutionary synthesis.

So I'll give it a try. But if the book is oblivious to what's going on with gene-culture theory, I'll probably just skim for the observations only. Unless I'm missing something. Books are cheap, worth a skim at least to see what it's about and give it a fair shake.

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