Once Upon a Time in Russia

by Ben Mezrich

Quick take

One day, you're shaking hands with an associate across the table; the next day, his men have you surrounded in your armored car. You can't trust anyone.

Why I love it

Secret meetings, spies, double-crosses… Cars blown up, cups of coffee poisoned, men gunned down in their homes. A small group of businessmen take over a country and become untouchably powerful…

No, this isn't the plot of a Daniel Silva novel — this is the actual history of Russia in the early 1990s. Under the rule of Boris Yeltsin, Russia's socialist economy was transformed into a capitalist marke...

Member thoughts

47% Love
41% Like
0% Dislike
  • Jeffrey H.

    Albuquerque, NM

    "Mezrich has written a history of the rise of the rise of the Russian oligarchy complete with explosions, yachts, nuclear subs, assassinations, and atomic poisonings, that reads like a thriller."

  • Sarah C.

    Houston, TX

    "Fascinating glimpse into an era of recent Russian history I didn’t know much about."

  • Stacy L.

    Los Angeles, CA

    "I really enjoyed this book, but was left wanting more details and information on such an involved and corrupt country."

  • Desha D.

    Camarillo , CA

    "Very fast paced fascinating look at Russia after the collapse of communism."

  • Natalie H.

    Oklahoma City, OK

    "This is better than any murder mystery because it is true life! So interesting and educational! Loved it!!"

  • Kelsey R.

    Columbus, OH

    "I loved this book. It gives you an insight into how Russia is the way it is today and leaves you wanting to dig deeper into country's history. "

  • Alexandra K.

    Washington, DC


  • Jessica B.

    Northfield, OH

    "I read this just after the election, and it raised a lot of questions as well as helped me understand Putin a bit more."

  • Karin N.

    Chicago, IL

    "Really good intro to post Communist Russia! This book reads very quickly but sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything and everyone! "

  • Shannon T.

    Sterling Heights, MI

    "I bought this as a gift, but am told I must read it."

  • April M.

    Holliston, MA

    "Very gripping for its genre. Spots were slow but over all informative and exciting."