Estonia: Recommended Books and Movies

By Rick Steves

To learn about Estonia past and present, check out a few of these books and films.


  • The Czar's Madman (Jaan Kross, 1992). Accused of insanity, a nobleman from the Livonian region of Estonia is subsequently monitored and scrutinized by his family.
  • Treading Air (Jaan Kross, 1998). This novel follows the life of protagonist Ullo Paerand, from the 1920s through the Soviet occupation of Estonia.
  • Truth and Justice (Anton Hansen Tammsaare, 1926). In one of the cornerstones of Estonian literature, Tammsaare draws from his own life to describe Estonia's evolution into an independent state.


  • Autumn Ball (2007). Based on the novel by Mati Unt, this film explores the isolation of six disparate people living in a Soviet-era apartment complex.
  • The Singing Revolution (2006). This documentary follows the evolution of Estonian music as a form of peaceful protest and symbol of patriotism.
  • Spring (1969). Set in a small town boarding school, this coming-of-age story is an Estonian classic.
  • Tangerines (2013). In this Golden Globe-nominated film, a man in a small village must care for wounded victims during the 1992 war in Abkhazik, Georgia.