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Broken Empire : After the Fall of the USSR Hardcover – November 1, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792264320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792264323
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.9 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,968,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Gerd Ludwig photography is first-class but I wish written text had been as creative as the photographer's eye. Nothing to discredit the author, Fen Montaigne. But Fen, must you be so boring and bland. A single image captured a thousand words and your text was a dreadful mono-tone grounded in a yawning choice of vocabulary.
If your looking for images and insight text read "The Home Planet" by Kevin W Kelley. Two different subject matters, but the written text illustrates where this book went astray.
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Format: Hardcover
Having always been fascinated by Russia - my curiosity piqued by its reemergence as a global superpower - I was very glad to discover this book. Surprisingly, it was the only photographic account I could find of the vast socio-economic changes in the region since the demise of the Soviet Union. The fact that Ludwig, a German born photojournalist residing in Los Angeles, was able to capture such an intimate, knowledgeable, and compassionate portrait of a largely closed society is worthy of praise. While his coverage of Russia during and after the Soviet Empire includes an unflinching account of the many cultural and ecological atrocities committed by its leaders, his viewpoint remains balanced - a welcome change from the frankly one-dimensional stance often imposed by a lingering Red Menace wary West. Ludwig's photographs - almost exclusively of people experiencing the joys, tragedies, and challenges of everyday life - offer a unique window into the Russian soul. His images are complex and often emotional, yet unencumbered by sentiment, reminding us that the true identity of a nation lives in the hearts and minds of its people.

While there have been many changes in the region since the book's publication in 2001, Ludwig's work lays the sociological groundwork necessary for outsiders to grasp the effects of the warp speed transformation that continues to rock Russia today. Hopefully his more recent coverage, some of which continues to be published by National Geographic Magazine, will again find its way collectively into book form. I for one would like to better understand the true heart of this still mysterious and increasingly powerful nation.
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Format: Hardcover
Broken Empire leaves an indelible mark on the memory. This stunning work presents a passionate and proud people, ravaged by the merciless process of political change. The book's coverage of the effect on the Russian environmental landscape alone, makes this a documentary of great importance. But most unforgettable, are the images which capture the entire spectrum of human experience that the nation's new self-image has imposed - from humiliation and despair, to dignity and triumph of the spirit against all odds - making this work an uncompromising testament to the historic realities of post-communistic Russia.
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By A Customer on January 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to the cover image of the book, this work clearly takes the blindfolds off in delivering a superb body of photographic work.
I have been traveling to the former Soviet Union now for the past twenty-five years and have always been surprised by how ignorant the world was about this marvelous nation. Ludwig clearly has an intimate feel for the soul of this great world. The images breathe and display the majesty of this people and empire wonderfully, warts and all. This is not a tragic populace, but a noble collection of races and groups who share a common pride, humanism and patriotism with a unique perspective and outlook on life that is both refreshing and vital.

I thought that the Western world would never get it right about the great land and her people, but Ludwig's masterpiece clearly and artfully reveals the nuances of an emerging colossus whose rightful place in history, commerce, politics, art and culture is assured by its dogged determinism to continue, to live, to strive to express the essence that is "Mother Russia".

And to do all of this with photography...what an achievement!!
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