Anka Muhlstein was born in Paris in 1935. She settled in New York in 1974 where she began her career as a writer in French. She was awarded the Goncourt Prize in 1996 for her biography of Custine, and has twice received the History Prize of the French Academy. Her books include a double biography of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Balzac’s Omelette, and, most recently, Monsieur Proust’s Library, published in November 2012.
The Marquis de Custine’s record of his trip to Russia in 1839 is a brilliantly perceptive, even prophetic, account of one of the world’s most fascinating and troubled countries.