Every great country today would have its own rich past, rich and eventful history which recount the glorious period of strife of prosperity and growth. Wars and battles are also a part of every country’s history and one cannot deny the fact that they too have contributed to the present state of a country. Historical events big and small are effective for the world and it is necessary for people of all ages to know about these. Orlando Figes is a historian who has taken great interest in Russian history, and has written many a books and papers on the eventful history of this land. He has written works like the Wolfson History Prize winning “A People’s Tragedy,” “Crimea,” and “The Whisperers,” besides writing books like Revolutionary Russia.
Historical writings are often pieces that require great deal of research and one cannot fictionalize it at any cost. The writer must have studied, learnt closely about the people of the country, and seen the events through the eyes of the locals vis-à-vis the political analysts and the local historians’ word of mouth. Interacting with fellow European historians since his days at the Cambridge has helped the writer a great deal too.
Among the many things that a historical writer needs to possess, a primary trait is that of the love for history. What is that one thing from history that the writer loves the most and then he works on reading and studying more about?
Besides that, his love for the subject or one particular aspect or phase of the history of a country, would help him in imagining and recreating or telling the tale of those erstwhile days in words.
Now love for the subject is a big deal and then comes his level of research in that area. Many scholars would have all the tiniest bit of information regarding a certain period or era. But their storytelling or narration might falter and not have that credibility or depth to draw the readers.
But this is where Orlando Figes scores high and all his books are top selling names in the business, thereby reinstating the fact that people love good stories. His PH.D in Russian history and his writings on the Russian Revolution and other such periods of history are worth reading and they are the perfect books that are not just history recounts of the incidents. Every history book would tell you of the Tsardom or the modern times under the Communist Bolsheviks, the formation of the Russian empire and even the rule under Stalin.
But the wonderfully accurate description of the times and the society of Soviet Russia and the erstwhile Russia with perfect language, and descriptive references, would make for a perfect read and a study material. Knowledge of a country is through its historical achievements and its struggle to get to its footing after all that strife. Knowing Russia and its history through the right sources and soaking in its periodic references and grandeur shall be therefore, the right approach to knowing the country.