Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin

Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin


By (author) Catherine Merridale

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  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books
  • Format: Hardback | 505 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 46mm | 720g
  • Publication date: 11 December 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0805086803
  • ISBN 13: 9780805086805
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps, colour plates
  • Sales rank: 230,706

Product description

A magisterial, richly detailed history of the Kremlin, and of the centuries of Russian elites who have shaped it--and been shaped by it in turnThe Moscow Kremlin is the heart of the Russian state, a fortress whose blood-red walls have witnessed more than eight hundred years of political drama and extraordinary violence. It has been the seat of a priestly monarchy, a worldly church and the Soviet Union; it has served as a crossroads for diplomacy, trade, and espionage; it has survived earthquakes, devastating fires, and at least three revolutions. Its very name is a byword for enduring power. From Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin, generations of Russian leaders have sought to use the Kremlin to legitimize their vision of statehood.Drawing on a dazzling array of sources from hitherto unseen archives and rare collections, renowned historian Catherine Merridale traces the full history of this enigmatic fortress. The Kremlin has inspired innumerable myths, but no invented tales could be more dramatic than the operatic successions and savage betrayals that took place within its vast compound of palaces and cathedrals. Today, its sumptuous golden crosses and huge electric red stars blaze side by side as the Kremlin fulfills its centuries-old role, linking the country's recent history to its distant past and proclaiming the eternal continuity of the Russian state.More than an absorbing history of Russia's most famous landmark, "Red Fortress" uses the Kremlin as a unique lens, bringing into focus the evolution of Russia's culture and the meaning of its politics.

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Author information

Catherine Merridale is the author of the critically acclaimed "Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945," and "Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Russia." A professor of contemporary history at Queen Mary University of London, she has also written for "The Guardian," the "Literary Review," and the "London Review of Books," and contributes regularly to broadcasts on BBC radio. She lives in Oxfordshire, England.

Review quote

"Merridale's extraordinary history of the red fortress mixes politics, history, architecture and biography to lay bare the secret heart of Russia's history... It is a delight to read, with pithy pen-portraits, poignant vignettes and mordant summaries of the twists and turns of fate and fortune... Merridale does a brilliant job of piecing together the clues from the past and evading the constraints of the present." --"The Wall Street Journal" "Catherine Merridale's "Red Fortress" is a tour de force, as readable as it is extensively researched." --"Financial Times " ""Red Fortress" is much more than just another book about the Kremlin. It is a brilliant meditation on Russian history and the myths with which the Russians have sought to console themselves." --"The Observer " "This simply superb chronicle of the Kremlin is really a brilliant and unputdownable history of Russia itself from the early Tsars via Lenin and Stalin to Putin; anyone who wants to understand Russia today will not only learn a lot but will enjoy every page." --Simon Sebag Montefiore, "The Telegraph" "An exhilarating psychogeographical study of Moscow's Kremlin will delight many ...a book of detail and imagination...Merridale's book is a brilliant contribution to the "Xanadu" strand in English exhilarating journey." --"The Guardian " "Immensely readable...Merridale recounts its eventful history with great skill and tremendous narrative verve." --"The""Sunday Times " "This unique and stunningly well illustrated book is going to be a definitive study." --"Literary Review " "An extensive and meticulous journey through Russian history... How have Russia's leaders taken a history that is often either 'difficult, contested, or fragmentary' and melded it to fit the pervading ideology of the day? With thorough research, including rare access to the Kremlin's dusty, permission-only archives, Merridale addresses this question and