[Walker] does an excellent job and ... keeps his narrative relatively short in a gripping and clear-sighted way. (Eamon Delaney, Irish Independent)
[Walker] is more successful than most of his western journalistic competitors in exploring the often contradictory attitudes that Russians hold towards their president and the hybrid system he is building on the basis of Russian nationalism, Soviet nostalgia and a striving for international respect. (Jonathan Steele, The Guardian)
[Walker] looks at the Russia that Putin has created in minute and humane detail ... He does so through intimate conversations with Russians (and others) who have been affected by the way Putin has run his country, and creates composite images of a nation traumatised by its Soviet history but unable or unwilling to face that past. (Oliver Bullough, Prospect)
the best history of the ideologies and politics behind the headlines ... Walker's meticulous documentation of the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent occupation of Ukraine makes this exemplary political history, but The Long Hangover will be remembered, and re-read, as a history of memory. (Linda Kinstler, Times Literary Supplement)
[An] excellent, acutely observed book (Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, Irish Times)
It is hard to find fault in such a spectacular book, which deftly weaves personal narratives with grand geopolitical tensions to produce a compelling read ... a real tour de force of book-length reporting. (Kieran Pender, Australian Book Review)
It is ... [the] passages - so charged with personality whilst remaining politically astute that make Walkers prose so compelling to read. He takes the singular melody we trumpet about Russia in the West and adds harmony, dynamics, colour and context. Read this book and you will have a more nuanced understanding of the dissonant symphonies emanating from the east. (Matthew Janney, Culture Trip)
lively and engrossing (Angela Stent, Survival)
a superb book (Angus Roxburgh, CABLE Magazine)
Shaun Walker provides new insight into contemporary Russia and its search for a new identity, telling the story through the country's troubled relationship with its Soviet past. Walker not only explains Vladimir Putin's goals and the government's official manipulations of history, but also focuses on ordinary Russians and their motivations. He charts how Putin raised victory in World War II to the status of a national founding myth in the search for a unifying force to heal a divided country, and shows how dangerous the ramifications of this have been.
The book explores why Russia, unlike Germany, has failed to come to terms with the darkest pages of its past: Stalin's purges, the Gulag, and the war deportations. The narrative roams from the corridors of the Kremlin to the wilds of the Gulags and the trenches of East Ukraine. It puts the annexation of Crimea and the newly assertive Russia in the context of the delayed fallout of the Soviet collapse.
The Long Hangover is a book about a lost generation: the millions of Russians who lost their country and the subsequent attempts to restore to them a sense of purpose. Packed with analysis but told mainly through vibrant reportage, it is a thoughtful exploration of the legacy of the Soviet collapse and how it has affected life in Russia and Putin's policies.