My reading list for the next year – new books published in 2015

Below is a list of new books published during 2015 (and not only) which might be of interest to Russian ancestry researchers.  Happy reading.

Igor Labzin ”Russia & Revolution”, September 2015

labzinRussia & Revolution is the story of Boris Labzin, the author’s father. Boris Labzin was a White Russian Naval Officer, and graduate of the St Petersburg Naval Academy, sworn in by Tsar Nicholas II, in the era of the Russian Civil War and WW I. Sailing into exile from Vladivostok with the last of the White forces in 1922, he is forced into a new life as a master mariner in Shanghai until the chaotic events of WWII, only then to be caught up in the ructions of the revolution for independence in Indonesia. The fifty-year span of this odyssey takes place during some of the most momentous historical events of the 20th Century, and they disrupt his life over and over.


”The Big Green Tent: A Novel” by Lyudmila Ulitskaya , November 2015

ulitskayaLudmila Ulitskaya’s remarkable work tells the story of three school friends who meet in Moscow in the 1950s and go on to embody the heroism, folly, compromise, and hope of the Soviet dissident experience. These three boys―an orphaned poet; a gifted, fragile pianist; and a budding photographer with a talent for collecting secrets―struggle to reach adulthood in a society where their heroes have been censored and exiled. Rich with love stories, intrigue, and a cast of dissenters and spies, The Big Green Tent offers a panoramic survey of life after Stalin and a dramatic investigation into the prospects for individual integrity in a society defined by the KGB.

Do not forget to read the article about the book in New Yorker

”A Very Dangerous Woman: The Lives, Loves and Lies of Russia’s Most Seductive Spy, by Deborah McDonald and Jeremy Dronfield, May 2015

Spy, adventurer, charismatic seductress and mistress of two of the century’s greatest writers, the Russian aristocrat Baroness Moura Budberg was born in 1892 to indulgence, pleasure and selfishness. But after she met the British diplomat and secret agent Robert Bruce Lockhart, she sacrificed everything for love, only to be betrayed.

”Towards the Flame – Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia”, by Dominic Lieven, May 2015

towards-the-flameThe decision to go to war in 1914 had catastrophic consequences for Russia. The result was revolution, civil war and famine in 1917-20, followed by decades of Communist rule. Dominic Lieven’s powerful and original new book, based on exhaustive and unprecedented study in Russian and many other foreign archives. It explains why this suicidal decision was made and explores the world of the men who made it, who thereby not just consigned their entire class to death or exile but also made their country the victim of a uniquely terrible political experiment under Lenin and Stalin.

”Fydor Shaliapin in Australia” by Nikolai Gorbunov , 2015 (in Russian)

“Федор Шаляпин в Австралии и Новой Зеландии”, Николай Горбунов, 2015

In this new book, Fyodor Shalyapin in Australia and New Zealand, Nikolai Gorbunov discusses the performances that the Kazan-born singer gave in those countries, alongside details of his life and work that fans might not already know.

“Not much research has been done on Shalyapin’s tour to Australia and New Zealand,” Gorbunov told TASS. “There is still not much information about his performances to audiences in Australia and New Zealand – concerts that began his legendary tour across the world and brought him global fame.

“Shalyapin was the first person to bring high Russian culture, art and music to Australia and New Zealand. Although he toured intensively, he never cancelled a concert, giving performances in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Wellington and Oakland.


This book was not published this year but I came acsross it and wanted to write about it.

“Cossacks from Ural Region in Queensland”( in Russian)

”Уральские казаки в Квинсленде”, Людмила Ларкина, 2011

uralLioudmila Larkina has written a book “Ural Cossacks in Queensland” in 2011. The book comprises recollections, which were gathered from interviews with representatives of White Russian migrants in Brisbane, their family archives, as well as some material from Russian and Australian archives and from St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brisbane.  The book depicts material on life of Ural Cossacks in their first few years of being in Australia in the state of Queensland; history of the first Russian Orthodox Church in Australia – St. Nicholas Cathedral (1923-2011), where Banners of the Ural Cossack Army were kept until September 2007.

‘A history of Urals: Russia’s Crucible from early Empire to the Post Soviet Era” by Paul Dukes, February 2015

In the first English-language book to explore the subject fully, Paul Dukes examines the region’s contribution to the power of the state in tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet times, offering a refreshing antidote to Moscow-centric interpretations of Russian history. The book contextualises more recent periods with chapters on the earlier years of the Urals and covers the key environmental as well as economic, political and cultural themes.

The book contains illustrations and maps, plus lists of books and websites, as aids to further research and understanding of the subject. A History of the Urals is an important book that provides new and valuable insights for all students of Russian history. –

 See more at:

”If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women” by Sarah Helm, January 2015

In If This Is a Woman  Sarah Helm offers a profoundly moving chronicle of the six years Ravensbrück existed.  The only Nazi concentration camp built for women opened in May 1939, designed to hold 3,000.  At its peak, in February 1945, it held 46,473 women, many were women from Soviet Union.

”Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & beyond” by Olia Hercules , 2015

mamushkaNew book by Olia Hercules ”Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & beyond” in which the author serves up some her favourite childhood dishes.

2 thoughts on “My reading list for the next year – new books published in 2015

  1. zebracourage Reply

    Thank you so much for this list! I’m trying to trace my ancestors from Russia (possibly by way of Poland). Are you familiar with any of these names?: Repchenskaya, Grabowski/Grabuske, Powietnicki? The research my grandmother had done was stolen shortly after her death, so I’m having great difficulty.

    • Tana Post authorReply

      Hi zebracourage

      Thanks for contacting me. Unfortunately I do not have anything on these surnames. Never seen them before. The first point in your research need to be the archives in the country of immigration – migration and citizenship papers, marriage and death records. These will help you to establish the birth of place – one of the most important things in Russian ancestry research. Good luck. Tana

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