“It hurts to be Russian,” writes Mikhail Shishkin in the foreword to the English edition of his new book, “My Russia: War or Peace?” “For the foreseeable future, Russia will be associated not with Russian music and literature, but with bombs dropping on children.”

My Russia: War or Peace?, by Mikhail Shishkin.Translated by Gesche Ipsen.256 pagesHACHETTE, Nonfiction.

Shishkin’s book is a sober, incisive and convincing tract on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the evil that he has perpetrated on both his own people and the people of Ukraine. But more than that, it provides a sweep through the nooks and crannies of Russian history, picking up significant fragments from as far back as a thousand years ago to the present day.