Norton, NY, 2003
This book was a random find in a used book store near Pike Place, and a good one. The author went to Moscow as a grad student and fell in love with it. By way of finding a reason to be there in order to extend his visa he fell into journalism, and ended up finding himself well positioned and connected to observe and comment on the changes of a society meandering it’s way from poverty to wealth and back again, though many ended up missing the wealth portion altogether. In between there are accounts of war, peace, and a picture of something gone terribly wrong.
The book is based on a few road trips “to the ends of the empire” – Chechnya, Siberia, Sakalin, St. Petersburg – where as often as not the author finds himself hitching a ride with whoever drives past seeing their side of the local areas as well as finding his way to the governors and tycoons. Moscow, as a home base, gets some mention and it’s own chapters, but the book clearly focuses on what has happened to the rest of the country.