'Alan is one of those rare scholars who combines serious scholarship with a fabulous sense of humor and a brilliant, animated prose.'
–Victor Mote, University of Houston
'Professor Wood has done a great service in providing a concise history of one of the most significant regions of Russia…The book is thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and full of fascinating vignettes.'
–Jeremy Smith, University of Eastern Finland
'The book is a fascinating and accessible study of a relatively unknown subject. I found the work gripping…my impression is that this will become a standard work on the subject.'
–Richard Sakwa, University of Kent