The Walker Library: Russian History

Posted on March 6, 2012. Filed under: The Walker Library |


Introduction: I was born the year after Sputnik was launched and grew up during the Cold War, eventually to become a US Army Infantry soldier when the Russians were our #1 enemy. I remember in grade school having fire drills (evacuate the building), tornado drills (hey, it was inOklahoma- get under our desks immediately), and nuclear blast drills, (get in the hallway with our dictionary over our heads). A couple of smallOklahoma towns I lived in were close to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, hence the nuclear bomb drills.

In my college days at OU in the late 1970’s- early ‘80’s I was in Army ROTC and majoring in history, so I took three classes from Dr. Tobias in Russian history…and loved it. OnFeb. 22, 1980I was inWashington,D.C.for the Reserve Officer’s Association convention as a cadet representative from the OU Army ROTC program, and was at the big banquet when it was announced that the American hockey team had just defeated the Russian team atLake Placid. Pandemonium broke out. I saw all kinds of generals and colonels and everybody else standing in their chairs, on the tables, whooping and hollering.

During my tour of duty with the 9th Infantry Division, 3/47th Infantry at Fort Lewis (1981-85) we trained and prepared for war in the Middle-East (a huge map of Iran was on the wall at 3rd Bde. HQ,Col. “Lonesome End” Bill Carpenter commanding), war withKorea, and of course, war with the Soviets.

OnJune 1, 1992, I was a recent graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary inFort Worth,Texasand my wife was watching the children of some friends atBirchmanBaptistChurchwhere we were members. I was at home, preparing to go to work when the dad, Captain Rob Puckett, showed up unexpectedly at our door to get the kids. He was in his US Air Force flight suit because he was a B-52 pilot. He had an odd, shocked look on his face, so we asked him what was wrong. He had been on the aircraft that was on the runway, loaded with nukes, on alert status, which was a regular event at Carswell Air Force Base, when the order came down from President George H. W. Bush to the Strategic Air Command, to “stand down”. The Cold War was over. TheSoviet Unionwas falling apart and there was no need for the bombers to stay on alert 24hr a day, seven days a week.

In the years of ministry since seminary I have worked for another B-52 pilot, LTC. Bob Wallace, at First Command, and served with some, like the beautiful, smart, and godly Miss Amy Wilson who was a missionary toRussia. Amy served with me in my pastorate at Burton Hill Baptist in Ft. Worth but left to work in an orphanage in Vologda for a couple of years and has taken a few other mission trips to Russian before and since.

All of this to say that I have a love for Russian history and a desire to seeRussiachanged by the gospel of Jesus Christ. And yes, I have  a healthy fear that Putin is leadingRussiaback into the anti-western, anti-American ways of his KGB past.

Hence, my small collection of books about Russian history, listed herein:

          Charques, Richard. The Twilight of Imperial Russia.OxfordUniversity Press:New York 1958 (258pp.) Used in Dr. Tobias’ “Imperial Russia” class, spring 1980.

          Cherniavsky, Michael; editor. The Structure of Russian History, Interpretive Essays. Random House:New York 1970 (436pp.) This was a textbook in Dr. Tobias’ “Survey of Russian History” class, fall, 1979.

Crozier, Brian. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire. Forum: Rocklin, CA. 1999 (830pp.)

D’Encausse, Helene Carrere. Confiscated Power: How Soviet Russia Really Works. Harper & Row, Publishers:New York 1980 (401pp.)

Figes, Orlando. Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. Metropolitan Books of Henry Holt and Company: New York 2002 (729pp.)

Freeze, Gregory I; editor. Russia, A History second edition.OxfordUniversity Press:Oxford, Great Britain 2002 (523pp.)

Harvey, Robert. A Short History of Communism. Thomas Dunne Books,St. Martin’s Press: New York 2004 (422pp.) Technically speaking, this book is not Russian history, but a large part of the book deals with Russian history.

Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia and the Russians: A History. The Belknap Press ofHarvardUniversity Press:Cambridge,Mass. 2001 (718pp.)

Hughes, Lindsey. Peter the Great, A Biography.YaleUniversity Press:New Haven,CT. 2002 (285pp.)

Kochan, Lionel. The Making of Modern Russia. Penguin Books:New York 1962 (335pp.) Used in Dr. Tobias’ class, fall, 1979.

Lincoln, W. Bruce. Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias. Anchor Books, a Division of Random House, Inc.:New York 1981 (852pp.)

Madariaga, Isabel De. Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great.Phoenix Press:London 1981 (702pp.)

Raeff, Marc. Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia: The Eighteenth-Century Nobility. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich:New York 1966 (248pp.) This book I used in Dr. Tobias’ “History of Imperial Russia” course, spring, 1980.

Smith, Hedrick. The Russians. Ballantine Books:New York 1976 (706pp.) We used this book in Dr. Tobias’ “Survey of Russian History” course in the fall of 1979. A very enjoyable and interesting book and was on the NY Times bestseller list for 6 months.

Simis, Konstantin M. USSR: The Corrupt Society- The Secret World of Soviet Capitalism. Simon and Schuster:New York 1982 (316pp.)

Riansanovsky, Nicholas V. A History of Russia, fourth edition.OxfordUniversity Press:New York, 1984 (695pp.)

______________________. Nicholas I and Official Nationality in Russia, 1825-1855.University ofCalifornia Press: Berkeley, CA. 1959 (296pp.) This book was also used in the “Imperial Russia” course, spring 1980.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 An Experiment in Literary Investigation, vol.1. Harper and Row Publishers:New York 1973 (660pp.)

_______________________, vol.2.1974 (712pp.)

_______________________, vol.3. 1978 (560pp.)

Ulam, Adam B. A History of Soviet Russia. Holt, Rinehart and Winston:New York 1976 (312pp.) Used in Dr. Tobias’ “History of Soviet Russia” course, fall, 1980.

Von Laue, Theodore. Why Lenin? Why Stalin? A Reappraisal of the Russian Revolution, 1900-1930 Second Edition. J.B. Lippencott Company:Philadelphia,PA 1971 (227pp.) I used this book in Dr. Nye’s “History of Europe 1815-Present” class at OU, spring 1979.

Russian Literature:


Checkhov, Anton. Anton Chehkov’s Short Stories, A Norton Critical Edition, selected and edited by Ralph E. Matlaw. W.W. Norton & Company:New York, 1979, originally published from 1884-1903. (short stories are 262pp. and the  notes are another 105pp.)


Chernyshevsky, N.G. What Is To Be Done? Tales About New People.St. Petersburg, 1863. Vintage Books:New York, 1961 (354pp.) Dr. Tobias’ “Imperial Russia” class, spring 1980.


          Dostoevsky, Feodor. Crime and Punishment, A Norton Critical Edition, Third Edition, edited by George Gibian. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 1989. Originally published in 1866 (the novel is 465pp. long but the Norton Critical Edition adds another 229pp. of notes and essays for a total of 694pp.) I first read Crime and Punishment during finals week one year at seminary, not for a class, but because I hated studying for finals.


          ________________. The Brothers Karamazov, A Norton Critical Edition, edited by Ralph E. Matlaw. W.W. Norton & Company:New York, 1976. Originally published in 1880. (The novel is 735pp. and the notes are 151pp. for a total of 886pp.)


          ________________. The Idiot, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky with an Introduction by  Richard Pevear. Everyman’s Library:London, 2002, originally in 1869, (633pp.)


          Pasternak, Boris. Doctor Zhivago, translated by Manya Harari and Max Hayward with an Introduction by John Bayley. Everyman’s Library:London, 1991. Originally published in 1958. (549pp for the novel and then 50 more pages of Pasternak’s poems for a total of 599pp.)


Solzhenitsyn, AleksandrI.August 1914. Farrar, Straus and Giroux:New York 1972 (622pp.)


_____________________. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, translated by H.T. Willets. Alfred A. Knopf:New York, 1978. Everyman’s Library edition with Introduction by John Bayley, 1995 (159pp.) This book should be read by every American.


_____________________. Stories and Prose Poems. ______ 1970 (267pp.)

This list was compiled while listening to “Sacred Treasures: Choral Masterworks fromRussia’


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