Recent research on Sino-Russian relations concentrates on the split in the 1950s and 1960s, or their rapprochement in the early twenty-first century. Both trends produce good studies; however, they are still locked in an outdated theoretical framework of idealist versus realist. Two recently published books, both of which cover the "romance" between Russia and China, make notable attempts to replace the old framework. McGuire's personal and transnational history represents an overt and ambitious challenge to the existing studies. Lukin's more traditional international relations work revisits a simple realist account by trying to understand the mindset of policymakers in both countries. Future research should pay more attention to the interactions of important individual policymakers for a deeper understanding of Sino-Russian relations.