Relatively new (2008) book by Jonathan Brent, professor at Yale, and leader of the Yale University project to publish declassified materials from the Soviet era archives.
Book is well worth a read. Brent started the Yale project in 1992, and managed to make it work despite many obstacles in both Moscow and New Haven. Brent started off as Yale’s emissary to Russia and Russian scholars and scholarship and as time went on he equally or better became their emissary to Yale, as his involvement with the project, and involvement with Russia deepened. Autobiographical account of his life in Russia from ’92 to 2007, and a valuable firsthand account of the changes in daily life in Russia during this period of great upheaval. Brent’s own interest is Stalin, and his attempts to understand him are a most worthwhile part of the book. Probably comes closer to explaining Stalin than anyone, certainly any non-Russian, ever did.