“The books that really stimulated thinking and kept me up at night countless times are those I take personally. […] I recognize the settings, I commiserate with people, I know how horrible it is to feel stuck there. I could not sleep after The Russians* by Hedrick Smith; Putin’s Russia** by Anna Politkovskaya; and Dancing On Thin Ice by Arkady Polishchuk […] The depressing surroundings of Polishchuk’s life might be hard to believe for a Western person—but it is re-counted with such journalistic vision and style that reading the book is both enlightening and entertaining.”
* Hedrick Smith, who served as the Moscow Bureau Chief in 1971–74, published his number one American bestseller, The Russians, in 1975. It was translated in 16 languages.
** Putin’s Russia was published in the West in 2004. Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in the elevator of her apartment building in 2006 while working on a story on the torture practices of the president of Chechnya’s regime. She called him “Chechen Stalin of our days.”