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You Must Read These!

Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The 'big picture.' I return again and again to this book for background information. Davies has an amazing ability to assemble a wide range of facts into an engaging, coherent, clearly stated narrative. His other histories of Poland and Britain are similarly wonderful.

Dubnow, Simon (1920) The History of the Jews of Russia and Poland From the Earliest Times Until the Present Day (Translated from the Russian by I. Friedlaender). The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia.
Dubnow is the preeminent 19th century historian writing from the Jewish perspective. A man of immense erudition and impressive calm, Dubnow documents political events, cultural changes and the evolution of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe over an almost two-thousand-year period. How wonderful that this work is available for free at the Internet Archive! You can download each individual volume to your Kindle, iPad or computer – look closely at the links below to be sure you’re getting the volume you want.
Vol. I From the Beginnings Until the Death of Alexander I (1825)
http://www.archive.org/details/historyjewsinru00unkngoog

Vol. II From the Death of Alexander I until the Death of Alexander III (1825 -1894)
http://www.archive.org/details/historyjewsinru02unkngoog

Vol. III From the Accession of Nicholas II Until the Present Day (1916) with Bibliograpy and Index
http://www.archive.org/details/historyjewsinru01unkngoog

Frederic, Harold (1892) The New Exodus: A Study of Israel in Russia. Digital version (available for free) at Internet Archive
http://www.archive.org/details/newexodusastudy01fredgoog
An eyewitness account by a sympathetic journalist. As an international correspondent for the New York Times, Frederic covered the events during 1891-92 when thousands of Jewish families were expelled from Moscow and St. Petersburg. In this book (a collection of his dispatches) the author explains the twists and turns of Russian Imperial politics while providing a close-up view of the refugees' experiences.

Nathans, Benjamin (2004) Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
This resource provides unique details - as the title states - about the experience of Jews who left the Pale of Settlement for the cities of the Russian interior. This is a scholarly, yet accessible history that draws on recently opened Soviet archives to document dramatic social changes affecting the Jewish community during the critical period of 1855 - 1917. While Nathan's primary focus is on St. Petersburg, Moscow also receives a considerable share of his attention. I particularly value the summary of Russian perspective(s) on Jewish emancipation and the account of Jewish participation in the Tsar's universities and courts of law.

Copyright © 2012 Carola Murray-Seegert Ph.D.