A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev / Edition 1

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In this widely praised book, Vladislav Zubok argues that Western interpretations of the Cold War have erred by exaggerating either the Kremlin's pragmatism or its aggressiveness. Explaining the interests, aspirations, illusions, fears, and misperceptions of the Kremlin leaders and Soviet elites, Zubok offers a Soviet perspective on the greatest standoff of the twentieth century. Using recently declassified Politburo records, ciphered telegrams, diaries, and taped conversations, among other sources, Zubok offers the first work in English to cover the entire Cold War from the Soviet side. A Failed Empire provides a history quite different from those written by the Western victors. In a new preface for this edition, the author adds to our understanding of today's events in Russia, including who the new players are and how their policies will affect the state of the world in the twenty-first century.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Impressive. . . . A standard work."—Osteuropa

"Fluently and authoritatively told."—International History Review

"[A Failed Empire] draw[s] on abundant new primary sources to refine our understanding of the Cold War, turning it from a melodrama into a nuanced tragedy. . . . Rich in new information and fresh interpretation. Zubok reveals the full extent of Stalin's brutal post-World War II suppression of the Soviet People."—Washington Post Book World

"Make[s] use of significant new primary sources but also offer[s]a more inclusive approach with respect to the considerations shaping policy on both sides."—American Historical Review

"Ranks as the new standard work on the Soviet Union's Cold War—for scholars and students alike. . . . An excellent combination of old and new, offering both a synthetic interpretation of Soviet foreign policy in the latter half of the twentieth century and fresh new material to reconceptualize the factors behind that policy. . . . An important book [and] a standout."—Journal of American History

"An excellent survey of Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War, one which draws on a wide range of memoirs, secondary literature, and the still-patchy archival record."—Russian Review

"Zubok has been prominent amongst those reassessing Soviet foreign policy through the newly available primary sources. . . . [A Failed Empire] extends the story to the end of the Cold War and provides an excellent overview of the whole period."—International Journal

"This challenging account is perhaps the most complete and compelling yet written of the Soviet side of the Cold War."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"A fascinating and truly insightful study of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. . . . A valuable resource in understanding not only the history of the Soviet Union but the 20th century as a whole."—WHRW News

"The first work in English to cover the entire Cold War from the Soviet side . . . provides a history different from those written by the Western victors."—Ventunesimo Secolo
"A significant contribution to a field that has long been dominated by West-centric analyses. . . . Highly recommended."—CHOICE

"Zubok's book has established an important marker by which future historical studies will be measured."—Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"Zubok has taken on a huge challenge in attempting to narrate the entire evolution of the Cold War from the perspective of the apex of power in Moscow. He succeeds admirably. . . . This is a book that can be read by the specialist and generalist alike. . . . The book should reignite serious discussion about the causes of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which is the subject of his interesting conclusion."—History Book Club

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807830987
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2007
  • Series: New Cold War History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Vladislav M. Zubok is associate professor of history at Temple University. He is coauthor of Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Stalin to Putin and Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition: Russia's Revenge ix

Preface xxiii

Abbreviations xxix

1 The Soviet People and Stalin between War and Peace, 1945 1

2 Stalin's Road to the Cold War, 1945-1948 29

3 Stalemate in Germany, 1945-1953 62

4 Kremlin Politics and "Peaceful Coexistence," 1953-1957 94

5 The Nuclear Education of Khrushchev, 1953-1963 123

6 The Soviet Home Front: First Cracks, 1953-1968 163

7 Brezhnev and the Road to Detente, 1965-1972 192

8 Detente's Decline and Soviet Overreach, 1973-1979 227

9 The Old Guard's Exit, 1980-1987 265

10 Gorbachev and the End of Soviet Power, 1988-1991 303

Epilogue 336

Notes 345

Bibliography 417

Index 455

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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