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Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia
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Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  28 reviews
'Land of the Firebird' is a WONDERFUL and ENGAGING in-depth look of Russian history from 987-1917, spanning the ascension of Vlad and the Orthodox Church to right before the Revolution. With colorful prose Suzanne Massie details the variety of Russian existence--tsars and serfs and merchant-princes and babushkas--no stone is left uncovered as she cross-references nearly a ...more
Paperback, 493 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Hearttree Press
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Jun 02, 2008 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history/culture
I don't enjoy history unless it's somebody's story and that's the beauty of this book! It's a history of Russia from the first Kievan Prince to Nicholas II through the stories of its tsars. In addition, it details the accomplishments in art, literature, and music under the reign of each tsar. It's a bit slow in parts but never tedious. It is quite long though. I learned so much from it--chiefly how much the Russian people have suffered under ever single tsar they've had (and sadly, they fared no ...more
This is a beautifully written and pictured history of pre-revountionary Russia. It makes you aware of Russia's rich culture and heritage of art along with the stories of its royalty. Very inspiring
"Land of The Firebird". Suzanne Massie. 1980. "Land of the Firebird" is lyrical, exuberant, lush in it's breadth and beauty. Massie guides the reader through a cultural exploration of what she refers to as "Old Russia". -the Russia that existed before the 1917 revolution. She introduces the great painters, poets, composers and writers of Russia, but clearly it is the folk culture of the peasantry that Massie is most drawn to. Massie published her book at a time when the Soviet Union was powerful ...more
Eva Ebert
It's a huge work, covering every part of Russian culture and art from the earliest times up to the revolution. In many ways it is everything you could want to know about the subject. It covers very little history and politics, so you'll have to look elsewhere for that.
My only real problem with the book is that Massie gets too personal sometimes. She is extremely positive when describing the Russian society and the tsars; whatever problems there might have been with suppression or poverty is glos
Suzanne Massie's book is disappointing. Its main quality is that it is easy to read and quite informative: Massie indulges in picturesque descriptions, often extracted from 19th-century travel accounts; she can get quite lyrical and enraptured. Yet, her love for Old Russia ends up in a rosy ethnographic report that doesn't take into account the complexity of Russian history. Artists and historical characters are flat and reduced to anecdotes, ideas turn into slogans, and in general everything is ...more
Patricia Mohney
Excellent book on the history, arts, and culture of Russia.
Land of the Firebird is perhaps the greatest book ever written on pre revolutionary russia's now vanished culture. Beginning in 987 with the adoption of Eatern Christianity in Russia, Massie tells of the construction of the great cathedrals and palaces of Kiev and their destruction by the Mongols,and of the rise of Moscow and the Kremlin. She discusses the first and the greatest of the Romanovs and the the flowering of Russian culture in the 19th century. If you love Russia, and all things Russi ...more
Betty Ho
A must read for people who is travelling to Russia for the very first time. The author weaves the old russians' travelogs with Russian folklores, a little bit of Russia history, plus the anecdotes of the greatest Russian artists.

This book walks you through the Kremlin in 17th century, the Nizhny fair in N. Novgorod, the Sadovaya Street in St. Petersburg and the Kizhi Island and more. If I'm going to take only one book to Russia, this would be my choice over the Lonely Planet. A truly beautiful
I really enjoyed the first part of the book which is a Russian history textbook... 5 stars. The remainder about the many famous Russians in the arts didn't interest me as much. Very well written.
Very beautiful narrative history of old Russia. Lots of detail to clothing, personalities, love stories, and dramas of the empire. Definitely recommend to those interested in the artistic history of Russia!
What a wonderful book! This book details Russian cultural history from around 1000 CE up to WWII. Having been a Russian major in college, I was excited to finally sit down and read this tome. It did not disappoint. Art, music, dance, folkart . . . it's all in there along with some good history lessons. Simply fascinating to be reminded how Russian arts have influenced and been influenced by so many other cultures.
This book, read when I was in eighth grade, kindled my love for Russian history and Russian culture (and the fabulous illustrations also fed into my love for Russian Imperial bling!) I haven't read it again in years, but now that I've been to some of the places she described and have seen some of the buildings/ paintings/ jewels, etc., I'm psyched to read it again.
Christine Schmidt

Can open it at any point and read something interesting.
I got the title from The Revolution of Ronald Reagan. Evidently, he read it and took many of his impressions of Russia from it, which informed his attitude and behavior toward the Soviet Union at he end of the Cold War. Someone else thought it too lightweight and recommended The Icon and the Axe.
A description of the cultural history of Russia, from its beginnings as a civilization to the late Soviet period. The book focuses more on the high-culture aspects (art, literature, music) than everyday life, but is comprehensive and well-written.
Audrey Stephens
Sep 17, 2012 Audrey Stephens is currently reading it
I just picked this up this weekend and first opened to the chapter about Pushkin. It was so gripping that I then started at the beginning. Really well written and fascinating. Has some good historic paintings also.
Chris Lira
Pretty good. I liked the way it mixed a standard historical perspective with cultural history- art, music, etc.
Zoe Jean
An amazing book, though a bit dated. (published 1980) Old Russia is wonderful as far as I'm concerned. :D
A nice read for anyone looking to add some texture to their understanding of Russian people and history.
Danny Cardoza
Great, although I feel she paints an overly optimistic painting of Russian History.
Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia by Suzanne Massie (1980)
Mtscoastergirl Sledden
An amazing history of czarist Russia...written in a way for everyone!
Great, entertaining look at Russian history before the revolution.
Beautiful descriptive cultural history of Old Russia
Read for a class at school. Very interesting.
Informative and helpful for our September trip.
Jane Costanza
Beautiful and wonderful book about Russia.
Kathlyn West
Good history of Russian culture.
Easy read of Russian history
Ben added it
Jan 22, 2015
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