Russka

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Part Two Of Two Parts

The author of the phenomenally successful SARUM and LONDON turns to an even larger subject: Russia. Spanning eighteen hundred years of its history, people, politics, and culture, Edward Rutherfurd's grand saga encompasses all the fascinating contradictions of Russia itself. Exotic, proud, parochial, these contrasting qualities define the immense territory that lies half in Europe, half in Asia -- a crossroad of culture. Told as the story of four families, ...

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Russka: The Novel of Russia

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Overview

Part Two Of Two Parts

The author of the phenomenally successful SARUM and LONDON turns to an even larger subject: Russia. Spanning eighteen hundred years of its history, people, politics, and culture, Edward Rutherfurd's grand saga encompasses all the fascinating contradictions of Russia itself. Exotic, proud, parochial, these contrasting qualities define the immense territory that lies half in Europe, half in Asia -- a crossroad of culture. Told as the story of four families, Russka transforms the history of a singular nation into a great and compelling human drama.

"Rutherfurd personifies history." (New York Daily News)

The author of the phenomenally successful Sarum: The Novel of England now turns his remarkably vast talents to an even larger canvas. Spanning 1800 years of Russia's history, people, politics, and culture, this grand saga is as multifaceted as the country itself, as it chronicles the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land. "Rutherfurd has indeed embraced all of Russia."--Washington Post Book World. (Historical Fiction)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rutherfurd weaves an expansive tapestry of Russian lore in this sprawling, occasionally soap-operatic historical novel--a seven-week PW bestseller and a Literary Guild selection in cloth--which vividly explores the historical influences on the modern Russian psyche. Dec.
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.
Kirkus Reviews
A well-written, episodic, dense, at times infuriatingly complex historical saga of Russia by the author of the similarly massive Sarum, which tries—often quite successfully—to re-create the evolution of a mysterious and backward nation riddled with war, political confusion, and religious upheaval. Crammed with exhaustive and obviously well-researched historical, geographical, and cultural detail, this epic novel traces Russia's quest for freedom and identity from A.D. 180 to the present. The primary storyline that finally emerges depicts three rival families who have ties in the quintessential village of Russka: the Bobrovs, gentried noblemen who ultimately lose their precious land to the very serfs they once owned; the cunning Suvorins who amass great wealth as merchants and industrialists; and their distant relations the Romanovs, peasant farmers-cum- revolutionaries. Through the intricacies of marriage, accidents of birth, and other twists and turns of fate, the ancestors and descendants of these proud people move from one century to the next, turning up as warring Alans, barbarous Tatars, bloodthirsty Cossacks, and eventually the more familiar Socialists, Bolsheviks, and Marxists. Rutherfurd's immense canvas allows a fictional cast in the hundreds to populate the same world as Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Tolstoy, Voltaire, Pushkin, Lenin, Stalin, Shevchenko, Rasputin, etc., as they grapple with catastrophic events—such as ritual self-immolation, torture by knouting, cholera, and the pogroms. Despite the preponderance of names that repeat themselves from one generation to the next (the plot is littered with very old or very young Arinasand Maryushkas, for example)—a circumstance that may befuddle the casual reader—Rutherfurd's opus extraordinaire may captivate readers of the genre as well as serious history buffs. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for October)
From the Publisher
“Impressive . . . Rutherfurd has indeed embraced all of Russia.”
–The Washington Post Book World

RUSSKA SUCCEEDS WHERE [OTHER BOOKS] OF TRENDY SOVIET-WATCHING HAVE FAILED. . . . Rutherfurd can take his place among an elite cadre of chroniclers such as Harold Lamb, Maurice Hindus and Henri Troyat.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“FAST-MOVING . . . Rutherfurd believes in adding color and adventure to facts that are exhaustively researched, making history palatable if not delicious.”
–Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“SPRAWLING . . . Rutherfurd’s close observation of Russia’s religious and ethnic diversity gives this epic a distinctive flavor.”
Publishers Weekly

“RUTHERFURD LITERALLY PERSONIFIES HISTORY.”
–New York Daily News

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394588315
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/17/1991
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ENRAPTURED

    This novel took me by surprise. I was just bored and had a vague idea about Russia. After being completely engrossed in this enthralling epic I not only became interested in all things Russian, I started learning Russian at the nearby community college! Russka is now one of my favorite "go-to" books. Rutherfurd is the man responsible for my passionate affair with historical fiction.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    Really enjoyed it!

    Russka was the first book that I read by Edward Rutherford and I have read most of his books by now. I had read several non-fiction books about Russia and enjoyed them. Russka was a great treat, blending a fictional family with history. I read it quickly and truly enjoyed it!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining/Informative

    Having read several other Rutherfurd historical fiction offerings it was only natural to feel the need to tackle Russka. I say tackle because it was 945 pages of sprawling history involving Russia. Although the author states in the very begining of the book that it is close to historical yet still fiction this book does give an amazingly informative assessment of the history of Russia from AD to present. I enjoyed this book and it was entertaining, however at times the characters did seem a bit repetative and there was just way too much political detail and too less character/story development. I'd rather had a bit more story vs the political views of the author or of the time period. I also would have enjoyed less time spent in the 1700's/1800's and more time on the happenings in the 1900's. There seemed to just be a little "tack on" so to speak, in regards to anything current and I felt a little let down by this. It does tend to drag on sometimes with the over detail of the political situations but all in all a good read. I am however glad to finally finish and would recommend to anyone who can #1 take a book of such thickness and #2 to a person who has the "Stick-to-it" attitude needed to press on when it gets down right tedious.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2001

    Interesting History- what a concept!

    Interesting story of a 'fictional' Russian family (although could be very much real) covering the entire span of Russian history from 'cave-people' up to the Soviet days. You meet everybody from Peter the Great to Ivan the Terrible, thru the eyes of this family. Tells you the true history of Russia while keeping you interested by the 'Fairy-tale' nature of the story. I highly reccomend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great Rutherford book

    This book is a love story, a history lesson and a great novel wrapped into one. It is an amazing novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Another great tome by Mr Rutherford

    As someone who loves good fiction novels, and history, it doesn't get much better than this.

    Centuries upon centuries pass with surprising speed, as the intertwining tales of families & towns are told.

    Highly recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Recommended *** stars

    Extremely well written, as are all Rutherfurd books. At times a bit more difficult to follow the family lines... may be due to the Russian names.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    Not bad, not great

    The author did a great job on Sarum, a story of one place over the years. But here, the canvas is too large, and we get lost in too many places and too many armies spamning too many thousands of miles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Boring. If you want to read a history of Russia, then turn to o

    Boring. If you want to read a history of Russia, then turn to one of the many great histories, deeply researched. If you want to read a novel about Russia, then read one of the excellent novels written by those who lived there and experienced what they wrote...Tolstoy, Dostoevsky. Turgenev. Pasternak...

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    Anticipate Good Reading

    I have not read the book yet but look forward to doing so. I bought it on the strong recommendation of a friend of Russian descent.
    Upon flipping through her copy it looked like it was well written and interesting.

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Edward Rutherfurd's "Russka"

    What a great look at the history of this part of Russia! I enjoyed this book greatly. It is what I would have expected from a Rutherfurd book.

    Sue_in_Wisconsin

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    good historical novel, but not his best

    I have read all of Edward Rutherfurd's novels, and all are well-researched and enjoyable to read. This is my least favorite of all of them, possibly because I am far more interested in Great Britain and Ireland than in Russia. The names are unfamiliar to me, so I had a little more trouble picturing the characters in my mind. Otherwise, it is a very good novel.

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    Posted November 13, 2012

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    Posted July 11, 2010

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    Posted April 1, 2010

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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    Posted February 25, 2012

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    Posted June 3, 2012

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    Posted December 19, 2009

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    Posted April 15, 2009

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