Owen Matthews

Forces in a Vacuum

Lost Kingdom: A History of Russian Nationalism from Ivan the Great to Vladimir Putin


Allen Lane 398pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia


Granta Books 515pp £20 order from our bookshop

In 1947 a young US diplomat named John Fischer published an earnest little book called Why They Behave Like Russians. Fischer, who had served in postwar Kiev and Moscow, was attempting to explain to a bewildered US public why their wartime ally Joseph Stalin, recipient of billions of dollars in American Lend-Lease aid, had suddenly turned on Washington, declaring it a deadly enemy, and seemed hellbent on starting a third world war. Seventy years later, Fischer’s question is more pertinent than ever as we find Russia not only at war with its neighbours but also, as the journalist Masha Gessen puts it, ‘waging an information war on Western democracy as a concept and a reality’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Who is Bibi, and why does he simultaneously arouse such admiration and antagonism?' A review of the newest biograp… ,
    • RT : Joseph Brodsky had a story about about one marathon Fidel Castro speech that was so tedious and repetitive it spark… ,
    • Here's reviewing Rachel Kushner's novel about a woman caught in the injustice of the US prison system,… ,
    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,