Between academic writing of history – what professional historians, usually employed by universities, do – and popular history – what journalists, celebrities and independent writers usually with some claim on fame do – there is a growing intermediate genre, which I will call ‘history light’. While popular history is produced rather quickly and often with armies of researchers working for the celebrity author, history light is artisanal. It takes more time and bears the mark of the scholar/journalist author. Such writers, smart people with a flair for fluid prose, have turned out bestsellers and prizewinners that have found a broad reading public. They can be read with enjoyment and profit by the general public and scholars alike. History light may not be as sensationalist or prurient as many popular histories, but neither is it as thickly evidenced or balanced as the best academic histories. Such books usually have a strong point of view, often supportive of the liberal/conservative status quo in the United States, and in the case of those that deal with Russia or the Soviet Union, usually condemnatory of the Soviet Union, communism and extremes of left and right. They often tend to be indictments rather than historically empathetic; that is, they shape evidence to a particular conviction instead of allowing a more complex, perhaps even ambiguous, reading.