Promoting American understanding of Russian folklore and traditional Russian life and culture.
have received a number of requests for reading recommendations from those
who are planning to go on an expedition or are just interested about
learning more! Here are a few that we suggest.
The Icon and the Axe : an interpretive history
of Russian culture / James H. Billington.Vintage, 1970.880 p.ISBN-13: 978-0394708461
Billington paints The Big Picture, treating the
“whole sweep of Russian cultural and intellectual history from Kievan times to
the post-Khruschev era." That’s a lot, but if you want an expert,
accessible guide to the non-possessors, spirit wrestlers, cursed questions,
peasant insurrectionaries, false Dimitris, dead souls, mighty handful, damp
mother earth and a host of other fundamental Russian characters, this is it.
A Frozen Hell : the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940 / William R. Trotter. Algonquin Books, 1991. ISBN-13: 978-1565122499
Headed for the Russian North?The Winter War will come up in nearly every interview.The first and last chapters of this
book provide a balanced account of the war’s background, causes, and outcomes.
The intervening chapters provide a detailed battle-by-battle military history.
Belief/ Linda J. Ivanits.M.E.
Sharpe, 1989.257p. ISBN 0-87332-422-6
introduction to many of the mythological personages who still populate Russian
ed./Genevra Gerhart. Slavica
Publishers, 2001. 420 p. ISBN 978-0893572938
very accurate guide to Russian daily life:gestures,party
etiquette, grocery shopping, how to make the bed,attitudes towards work and money,standard school curriculum,holidays,children's games, queuing skills,hygienic standards -- and that's just a start!Especially useful to those who read some Russian, but
perfectly accessible to those who know none.Earlier editions likewise very useful.
Nest[Life and Love in the Russian
Countryside] / Laura Lynne Williams.Fulcrum, 2008.324 p.ISBN-13: 978-1555916299
and rodeo rider Laura Williams followed her heart to a Russian nature preserve
near the Russia – Ukraine border, where she took on the job of environmental
educator. This charming memoir weaves together her work life (riding down
poachers, re-introducing over-hunted bison, educating school children, raising
a moose) with daily life among the 17human neighbors in her village.From them she learns local plant lore, a charm against wolves, and
horrendous stories of suffering through floods, collectivization and Nazi
occupation.All in all an
excellent combination of nature writing, contemporary village life and true
of Russian Folktales / edited and translated by Jack V. Haney.M.E. Sharpe,2009.ISBN9780765623058
Fun to read
and a good guide to classic themes in Russian folk tales.
House / Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Anthologized
in “We Never Make Mistakes” / translated by Paul Blackstock. Norton, 2003.ISBN-13: 978-0393314748Also found in several other
novella by the famous Russian author sometimes appears under the title Matryona's
Place.The year is 1953,
and an ex-convict has landed a teaching job in an out-of-the-way Russian village.He rents space in the home of the
elderly widow Matryona Vasilyevna and gains an extraordinary view into the
Soviet-era village life which most of our informants grew up with and still
remember vividly.Well worth
Russka:the novel of Russia / Edward
2005.945 p. (paperback).ISBN13978-0345479358
History Lite than great literature, this is along the lines of James Michener's
epic novels (Hawaii,Centennial,
The Source, etc.)Centered on two
Russian villages, Russka weaves historical events and people intothe
story of generations of two fictional families from 180 CE down to 1937.It is unfortunate that only the last 50
pages overlap with the lives of people you are likely to meet on an expedition.It does, however, provide a colorful
picture of major events in earlier Russian history.
Farewell to Matyora / Valentine
Rasputin. Translated by Antonina Bouis. Northwestern
University Press, 1995.ISBN-13:
Matyora is a fictional
Siberian village which must be evacuated and cleared before it is submerged by
a new hydroelectric project. The action takes place in the late 1950s or early
1960s, but the residents of Matyora have deep roots, going back 300 years.
Forced to abandon their traditional way of life for the shallow conveniences of
a modern town, the younger generation adapts easily, but the older villagers
find it devastating to break their spiritual ties with the ancestors in the
cemetery, with the spirit of the countryside, and with the land itself.
American Friends of Russian Folklore is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation and a 501(c)(3) organization. Tax I.D. No. 26-0294873.