Eight Pieces of Empire

Paperback $16.00

Broadway Books | Oct 30, 2012 | 336 Pages | 5-3/16 x 8 | ISBN 9780307395832

  • Paperback$16.00

    Broadway Books | Oct 30, 2012 | 336 Pages | 5-3/16 x 8 | ISBN 9780307395832

  • Ebook$11.99

    Broadway Books | Nov 01, 2011 | 336 Pages | ISBN 9780307888853

Praise

“Eight Pieces of Empire is a unique, readable, and bracing work of eyewitness history by a brave foreign correspondent who risked his safety and more to document it.”
The New Republic online

“Lawrence Sheets is a foreign correspondent whose bravery exceeds one’s comprehension….he has produced some of the most gripping war correspondence I have ever read”
The Washington Times

“[U]nforgettable memoir and travelogue of a period and a place most of us would prefer to forget…. give[s] meaning, and perspective, to the rocky transition of the past two decades, and infuses it with drama and despair…. vital and vivid”
The Boston Globe

“His book is an invaluable eyewitness account of the traumas of the Soviet collapse told through the lives of those who were caught up in it and often buried under it. The book is written with a disarming honesty, sympathy and humility.”
The Economist

“Lawrence Scott Sheets’ “8 Pieces of Empire” is a vivid, largely anecdotal account of the chaos and confusion that has followed in the two decades since the fall of the massive communist entity that once obsessed America. It leaves the reader hungry for more.”
—Associated Press

“Sheets’ suite of incidents bespeaks his Russian-fluent immersion among people unmoored by the Soviet collapse, a quality watchers of the Russian scene will appreciate.”
Booklist

“In an era when the media establishment supports foreign reporting less and less, Lawrence Sheets has lived a life of utter seriousness as a foreign correspondent: concentrating on one broad area–the former Soviet Union–in order to develop subject expertise, and then dedicating himself to indefatigable ground-level coverage of that area. Forget the pundits and the scandalmongers, this is a real journalist.”
–Robert D. Kaplan, author of Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power

“Few Westerners understand the post-Soviet soul like Lawrence Sheets. Whether it is his hair-raising stories of the region’s myriad armed conflicts or the black humor with which he captures the moral and physical impoverishment of a collapsing empire, Sheets brilliantly condenses twenty tumultuous years into an eminently readable tale.”
–Matthew Brzezinski, author of Red Moon Rising

“To capture the human cost of fallen empire with all its horror and absurdity, Sheets offers the right combination: the political insight of a top reporter and the power of a novelist.”
–Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and other books

“With Eight Pieces of Empire, Lawrence Scott Sheets brings a journalist’s watchful eye, an essayist’s sense of humor, and a scholar’s mind to the legacy of Soviet empire in all its color and complexity. This book is a great read, and its images linger in the mind long after the cover is closed.”
–Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and author of The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?

“This may read like a mad journey through some of the most dangerous places on earth, but it is much more than that as well. Sheets witnessed most of the wars, disasters, and revolutions that followed the end of communism, and his accounts of them–from Chechnya to Chernobyl, and from Abkhazia to Afghanistan–serve as a passionate but considered obituary for the vanished Soviet empire.”
–Oliver Bullough, author of Let Our Fame Be Great

“War reporter Lawrence Sheets’s edgy memoir evokes exactly the fatalism, confusion, and centrifugal forces that suddenly broke up the Soviet Union two decades ago. Refreshingly free of faraway theorizing, this book focuses on what people actually saw and experienced in those years.”
–Hugh Pope, author of Dining with al-Qaeda

“Dean of the Moscow press corps Lawrence Scott Sheets has been everywhere and seen it all. Funny, engaged, and humane, he is a matchless guide to the tattered remnants of the Soviet empire.”
–Anna Reid, author of Borderland and The Shaman’s Coat
 
“A smoothly written and sensitively drawn personal portrait of the people and places Lawrence Sheets meets during the roiling collapse of the Soviet Union, and the furtive, now two-decade-long struggle of the resulting fifteen states to construct something new. I have the feeling that people will be reading his account for a long time to come.”
–Steve LeVine, contributing editor at Foreign Policy and adjunct professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University
 
“Beautifully wrought and executed with admirable clarity, Lawrence Sheets’s gripping, intelligent, and compassionate account of the years following the Soviet empire’s end is a must-read for anyone interested in the human cost of change.”
–Vanora Bennett, journalist and author of Portrait of an Unknown Woman and The Taste of Dreams
 
“During his almost two decades living and reporting in several countries that are former Soviet republics, Lawrence Sheets had a front-row seat to the human casualties and political fallout of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Eight Pieces of Empire vividly captures the lived experiences of people caught on the sweeping waves of politics and history with intimacy and insight.”
–Robin Hessman, director/producer of My Perestroika

“Gripping, entertaining and informative. . . .For anyone who wants to know what it was like and in many ways still is like in the former Soviet Union, Sheets’ book provides a crystal clear lens into a dark and unfamiliar world. . . .his narrative is both a personal journal and an essay of humanistic understanding.”
Ambassador Robert Finn

“[Eight Pieces of Empire] combine[s] a thoroughly interesting and moving personal story with an invaluable insight into the situation on the ground during a number of key moments” –taklama.com




From the Hardcover edition.

Table Of Contents

Contents for Eight Pieces of Empire (Broadway Paperbacks)
 
Legal Note
Author’s Note
 
PART I—FAREWELL LENINGRAD, FAREWELL EMPIRE (1989–1991)
A Civil War Outside My Door
Our Communal
Tears of a KGB Man
A Bigamist Bandit and a Button Maker
Sickle and Hammer Down: An Empire’s Last Hours
 
PART II—GEORGIA: ANARCHY IN PARADISE (1992–1996)
Nobody Started This War
Exodus
Buried Five Times: Insurgents in Flat Black Nylons
A Word About War
 
PART III—AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA AT WAR (1993–1996)
Azerbaijan: Lifesaving Carpets
Armenia: A Faded Tintype of Mount Ararat
Azerbaijan: The Shish Kebab War and Eastern Democracy
 
PART IV—CHECHNYA: ECHOES OF THE DEPORTATION (1993–2004)
Grenade, Lightly Tossed
Grozny
Three Libertine Sabotage Women
A Disappearance
Three Boys Seeking Martyrdom
 
PART V—RESURRECTIONS: THE ABDICATION OF ATHEISM (1998–2005)
A Nameless Bunch of Bones
A KGB Church and Latter-day Saints
 
PART VI—CENTRAL ASIA: RISE OF THE RED SULTANS (2001–2002)
Uzbekistan: I Cannot Answer That Question
An Afghan Interlude
The Island of Dr. Moreau
 
PART VII—REVOLUTIONS, REINDEER, AND RADIATION (2003–2011)
The Flaming Recliner
Last Song of the Ultas
Home, Sweet Chernobyl
The Road to the Schoolhouse
 
PART VIII—AN EMPIRE EPILOGUE
 
Acknowledgments
Selected Bibliography

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