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In his first account of Russia, Lenin's Tomb, David Remnick wrote a history paced like a thriller that recast the common understanding of the last days of the Soviet Empire. While most reporters mouthed the standard lines about the "fall of communism," Remnick delivered a gripping account of how the old order in which gangsters ruled through brutal state power lost its hold on the Russian people. Remnick's stunning reportage cut away the myths of the Soviet system to provide the first account of how Eastern Europeans and former citizens of the Soviet Union had long viewed the Soviet regime. The book won the young author his first Pulitzer Prize.
In his new and equally superb book Resurrection, Remnick offers clear-eyed commentary on how the old order of gangsters has given way to a new order. Russia's power elite, he tells us, has embraced the tools and techniques of markets and electioneering to maintain power, while organized crime is fast becoming a major force in the economy. Remnick also describes how the changes in Russia have effected the people themselves. Heart-wrenching chapters on the war in Chechnya, the health and welfare of children (only 15 percent of school children are classified as healthy, and 50 percent are unfit for military service), and the diminished state of Russian letters and literature chronicle the suffering of a once proud nation as it attempts to rebuild itself. Resurrection makes good on Remnick's name and reputation as the best American writer on Russia today. [via]