The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union

Winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2015

Serhii Plokhy

Published by Oneworld in Paperback (£10.99) on 14-05-2015

‘Fascinating and readable… both compelling and sobering… Today, Russia has revived, and Putin wants his lost republics back, giving this book an additional relevance’

Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year

‘Incisive… [Plokhy’s] vibrant, fast-paced narrative style captures the story superbly’

The Sunday Times

~

On Christmas Day 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union. By the next day the USSR was officially no more and the USA had emerged as the world’s sole superpower. Award-winning historian Serhii Plohky gives us a vivid account of the preceding five months of dramatic events, including the failed coup and Yeltsin’s machinations around Gorbachev.

Honing in on this previously disregarded but crucial period and based on new sources and exclusive interviews with the presidents of the two superpowers, Plokhy shatters the established myths of 1991 and boldly argues that the US actually wanted to preserve the Soviet Union and keep Gorbachev in power. With its spellbinding narrative and strikingly fresh perspective, this is the essential account of one of the most important turning points in world history.

~

‘A superb read… deeply researched… indispensable’

Simon Sebag Montefiore, BBC History Books of the Year

‘Wonderfully well-written… explains as no one in English has until now, just how central Ukraine was to the viability of any sort of Soviet bloc… it’s bracing and timely… well worth reading’

The Times

‘A riveting thriller’

Mail on Sunday

‘Fine-grained, closely reported [and] highly readable’

FT

‘A superb work of scholarship, vividly written, that challenges tired old assumptions… masterly’

Spectator

‘Well researched and highly readable… distinctly fresh… of more than historiographical significance’

TLS

PR Collective’s current campaigns

See more campaigns →

Nine Nasty Words

Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.

Read more →

I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

My aim is to help parents make both cooking and mealtimes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It’s all about sharing food that the whole family will love, with your baby in a highchair pulled up to the table. Apart from the first few weeks of weaning, there really is no need to cook twice. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t! Your baby will benefit both nutritionally and developmentally from eating with you; and, if you are not stuck in the kitchen all day preparing endless different meals, you’ll be happier and less frazzled, too.

Your child’s development depends on three key areas of health that are intertwined and are interdependent – these are the Brain, the Immune system and the Gut (BIG). The first thousand days seems to be the critical window to get this essential BIG nutrition trio functioning well, as that is when your baby’s mind, immune-resilience and intestinal health are being primed for the future.

Read more →

Extra Life

Steven Johnson will present a four-part television series with historian David Olusoga, also titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. As with the book, the series, set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis, explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics—including smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu, and others—and reveals how scientists, doctors, self-experimenters, and activists launched a public health revolution, saving millions of lives, fundamentally changing how we think about illness and ultimately paving the way for modern medicine.

Read more →