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The Maisky Diaries: Red Ambassador to the Court of St James's, 1932-1943  

(Yale University Press, 2015)

The Maisky Diaries: The Wartime Revelations of Stalin's Ambassador in London (paperback)

(Yale University Press, 2016)


The Complete Maisky Diaries, Volumes 1-3 

(Yale University Press, 2018)

  • Volume 1: The Rise of Hitler and the Gathering Clouds of War, 1932–1938

  • Volume 2: The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the Battle of Britain, 1939–1940

  • Volume 3: The German Invasion of Russia and the Forging of the Grand Alliance, 1941–19


"Easily the most important diary of the Second World War period since Fringes of Power, Jack Colville’s records of working for Churchill, were published more than 30 years ago. Like Colville, Maisky had genuine literary talent as well as the ability constantly to be at the right place at the right time… All new accounts of the period will have to quote them in future… intensely readable, highly revelatory and well edited”

Andrew Roberts, Evening Standard

"Hitler’s War produced some remarkable political diaries, now essential evidence for historians… To this select list we must now add the name of Maisky... His vast diary is a fascinating and invaluable source on wartime relations between Moscow and London. It’s appearance in English is a triumph of meticulous scholarship and enlightened publishing… [Maisky’s] diary nearly cost him his life. Now, thanks to a skilled and sensitive editor, it will earn him immortality.”

David Reynolds, Times Literary Supplement

"Maisky’s diary, impeccably edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky, is not only a work of major historical importance. It also provides an utterly fascinating view of Anglo-Soviet relations and British politics during the critical period of 1932 to 1943."

Anthony Beavor

"It is a book that makes us understand the period of appeasement afresh, tells the human story of an un-Bolshevik character teetering on the edge of Stalinist disaster, and reminds us just how important great diplomats have been in dangerous times.'

Andrew Marr, New Statesman 

“Deftly edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky. . .This is a must-read for aficionados of diplomatic history and especially of interwar British high society.”

Stephen Kotkin, The Wall Street Journal

“Maisky was…clever, cultured, an exceptionally shrewd observer of Britain during his 11 years as ambassador in London from 1932… Maisky’s diaries make a significant new contribution to the historiography of his time, for which their editor deserves congratulations”

Max Hastings, Sunday Times

“…may turn out to be the most important contribution of 21st-century historical scholarship to our understanding of the causes, courses and consequences of the Second World War… It will be read — it will be metaphorically devoured — by anyone remotely interested in understanding the history of humanity’s darkest century.”—S.J.D Green, Standpoint
SJD Green, Standpoint 


"Its candid depictions of the British political and social scene… are a find of historic importance and fascination"

Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph 

“Ivan Maisky was an amazing diplomat by anyone’s standards, and it turns out that he was an amazing diarist as well . . . . The diaries give readers a chance to meet a significant figure from this period who eschewed leaden Soviets peak and candidly shared his doubts, convictions, fears, hopes, and frailties with honesty and clarity.”

Foreign Affairs

“Superbly edited . . . and exceptionally vivid.”

Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books

“This chronicle of his embassy before and during the Second World War abounds in interest. It not only sheds fresh light on Anglo-Soviet relations but also contains fascinating accounts of prominent British figures…[Gorodetsky] deserves all credit for a masterly feat of original research and scholarly exposition”

Piers Brendon, Literary Review 

“Maisky’s wonderful diary offers refreshing insights into the turbulent 1930s… Sparkled amid his fascinating observations of momentous developments is some delightful gossip, to which Maisky was addicted… Maisky’s painful reflections on the British character remind one of Samuel Pepys or Dr. Johnson.” 

Gerard DeGroot, The Times


“Gorodetsky compares Maisky’s diaries to Pepys’s in their astute observations of the British political and social scene, spiced with anecdotes and gossip… The detailed and lively reports in Maisky’s diaries of his many meetings with Churchill are particularly valuable”

Sheila Fitzpatrick, London Review of Books 

"These diaries throw new light from a fresh angle on the lead-up to 1939 and the subsequent course of the war this is an exceptionally readable, as well as important, story." 

John Joliffe, The Spectator

“…an extraordinary document left by an extraordinary man"

Andy McSmith, The Independent

“With their dramatized accounts of British policies and society in the pre-war world and later, his diaries are a feast…”
George Walden, New Statesman

“The diary provides a valuable — and highly readable — insight into the Soviet view of events leading up to World War II.”

Joseph Goulden, The Washington Times


“The astonishing emergence of Maisky’s diaries is like something from the pages of Gogol or Doestoevsky – real life Notes From the Underground. Roll on the complete edition – and bravo Gorodetsky and Yale University Press.”

Robert Carver, The Tablet

“The Maisky Diaries is an invaluable resource for professional historians and general readers alike. It will provide particular insights for those interested in Soviet diplomacy, in the mindset of the Soviet leadership, and in British politics, society, and foreign policy on the eve of the Second World War.”

Russian Review

Anyone interested in this country’s attempts to appease then defeat Nazi Germany now has a treasure trove in the secret diaries of Ivan Maisky, Stalin’s ambassador to London… Maisky was brilliantly effective in forming relationships with leading British politicians, such as Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George, so the diaries are full of unforgettable personal insights into these giants.”

Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

“Edited with scrupulous care by the historian Gabriel Gorodetsky, his diaries offer captivating perspectives… Maisky comes across as surprisingly humane, wry, and self-aware, and his conversations with Churchill are utterly gripping. Nobody interested in the period will want to miss them.”—Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times 
Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times


“There is the rare book whose publication is itself an important event. This book is just that. . .  I was struck by its immediacy and frankness, by Maisky’s astute and penetrating insights, and by his superb prose.”
A.G. Noorani, Frontline


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