A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End / Edition 2

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An examination of political, social and cultural developments in the Soviet Union. The book identifies the social tensions and political inconsistencies that spurred radical change in the government of Russia, from the turn of the century to the revolution of 1917. Kenez envisions that revolution as a crisis of authority that posed the question, 'Who shall govern Russia?' This question was resolved with the creation of the Soviet Union. Kenez traces the development of the Soviet Union from the Revolution, through the 1920s, the years of the New Economic Policies and into the Stalinist order. He shows how post-Stalin Soviet leaders struggled to find ways to rule the country without using Stalin's methods but also without openly repudiating the past, and to negotiate a peaceful but antipathetic coexistence with the capitalist West. In this second edition, he also examines the post-Soviet period, tracing Russia's development up to the time of publication.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Few historians are as well qualified to write such a volume as Professor Kenez. A solid and conscientious scholar, author of several books on the early l920s and on the Soviet cinema, Kenez's work has always inspired confidence and the new book is no exception. It is lucid, amply documented, well organized, and occasionally brightened by flashes of quiet humour … Above all, the book is thumpingly sensible.' The Times Literary Supplement

'Kenez has written an excellent book, and it is deserving of special attention by all who are interested in the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.' Mediterranean Quarterly

Library Journal
Kenez (history, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) has distilled the voluminous literature on the Soviet Union's 75-year history to a succinct and factual summary. Throughout, Kenez emphasizes economics, creating an image of a hollow superpower that could neither feed its population nor produce a reasonable supply of consumer goods owing to its concentration on the defense industry. A secondary emphasis is on the cultural life of the era, discussing the films and literature of different periods. There is little on the 1917 revolution and only a short analysis of why the Soviet Union ultimately failed to thrive. Sources in the bibliography are primarily in English. Still, this is a valuable reading assignment for undergraduate survey courses that academic libraries should consider.--Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521864374
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Kenez received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of many articles and books, including Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917–1953, and Varieties of Fear. He is currently Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The Revolution, 1917–21; 3. New economic policies, 1921–9; 4. The first Five-Year Plan; 5. High Stalinism; 6. A great and patriotic war; 7. The nadir: 1945–53; 8. The age of Khrushchev; 9. Real, existing socialism; 10. Failed reforms; 11. Leap into the unknown; 12. Afterthoughts; Chronology.
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