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Andrei Maylunas's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Andrei Maylunas recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Andrei Maylunas's favorite book recommendations of all time.



Set at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when idleness was still looked upon by Russia’s serf-owning rural gentry as a plausible and worthy goal, Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov follows the travails of an unlikely hero, a young aristocrat incapable of making a decision. Indolent, inattentive, incurious, given to daydreaming and procrastination, Oblomov clearly predates the ideal of the industrious modern man, yet he is impossible not to admire through Goncharov’s masterful prose. Translator Marian Schwartz breathes new life into this Russian masterpiece in this, the first translation... more
Recommended by Andrei Maylunas, and 1 others.

Andrei MaylunasWe’ll do Oblomov. Again it’s classic, so I’m not going to comment on the story. But to understand it, let’s say it’s, from my point of view, one of the best books where you get the feeling of what’s called the ‘Russian soul’. There is the lazy landowner Oblomov versus his friend, who’s extremely decent, a nice Russian-German chap, Stolz. And it’s the whole story of Oblomov’s impotence, of the... (Source)

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Prince Grigory Potemkin was Catherine the Great's lover, secret husband, and partner in ruling the Russian Empire. Their affair was so tumultuous, they negotiated an arrangement that allowed them to share power while he was free to love his beautiful nieces, and Catherine, her favorites. But they never stopped loving each other. Their endearing and passionate relationship remains one of history's most remarkable love affairs.

Potemkin shone as an outstandingly gifted statesman, winning the Crimea, founding the Black Sea Fleet, reforming the Cossacks, planning new cities like...
Recommended by Andrei Maylunas, and 1 others.

Andrei MaylunasWe move to the age of Enlightenment: a very nice, well-written book by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and it’s called The Life of Potemkin. So what do we have? We’ve had the reforms of Peter the Great, cutting his ‘window on to Europe’, then we had – and the 18th century is a crucial one – Russia meeting the Enlightenment. Catherine the Great comes to power, and that’s where the biggest revolution I... (Source)

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The publications of the Hakluyt Society (founded in 1846) made available edited (and sometimes translated) early accounts of exploration. The first series, which ran from 1847 to 1899, consists of 100 books containing published or previously unpublished works by authors from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, and covering voyages to the New World, to China and Japan, to Russia and to Africa and India. This volume contains the first part of the account by Sigismund von Herberstein (1486 1566) of his visits to Russia in 1517 and 1526 as Ambassador of the Holy Roman Emperor. He published... more
Recommended by Andrei Maylunas, and 1 others.

Andrei MaylunasIf you speak of Russia altogether I think one has to start somewhere, and you can’t start at the age of Enlightenment. So, the author is called Sigismund von Herberstein, and he was an Austrian ambassador to Venice. Quite enlightened for his times – it’s the Renaissance – he’s a free spirit, and he ends up being Hapsburg ambassador to Moscow, which is a rarity already. He travels through Poland... (Source)

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War And Peace

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and...

Vanora BennettAlthough it was published in 1869, War and Peace deals with events half a century earlier. This makes it one of the first historical novels – and, all these years later, it’s still the greatest. (Source)

Tendai HuchuTolstoy does something which is very unusual in War and Peace and which, for his time, was pretty profound: he sees the conditions of the ordinary soldier on the battlefield. (Source)

Niall FergusonAs a middle aged man, I react differently to Tolstoy than I did when I first read War and Peace at about 15. (Source)

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Devils, also known in English as The Possessed and The Demons, was first published in 1871-2. The third of Dostoevsky's five major novels, it is at once a powerful political tract and a profound study of atheism, depicting the disarray which follows the appearance of a band of modish radicals in a small provincial town. Dostoevsky compares infectious radicalism to the devils that drove the Gadarene swine over the precipice in his vision of a society possessed by demonic creatures that produce devastating delusions of rationality. Dostoevsky weaves suicide, rape, and a multiplicity of scandals... more

Ben ShapiroThere's some light reading for you. (Source)

Jordan B PetersonThe Devils by Fyodor Dostoevsky, a book from my great books list (Source)

Ari IaccarinoI’m currently reading The Devils by Dostoevsky, and I expect to glean absolutely nothing from it but the pleasure of disconnecting from any other literature that requires me to learn a skill for the company. The overburdening characters and plethora of words for something that could otherwise be said in an instant is a type of therapeutic brain massage in an environment where saying as little as... (Source)

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