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Making and Breaking of the Soviet System: An Interpretation
     

Making and Breaking of the Soviet System: An Interpretation

by Christopher Read
 

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The consequences of the Russian Revolution of 1917 have been among the most dominant shaping forces of the twentieth century, eventually dividing almost the entire globe into a battleground between capitalism and communism. The reputations of the main leaders of Russia/the Soviet Union - Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin - have soared and

Overview

The consequences of the Russian Revolution of 1917 have been among the most dominant shaping forces of the twentieth century, eventually dividing almost the entire globe into a battleground between capitalism and communism. The reputations of the main leaders of Russia/the Soviet Union - Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin - have soared and plummeted. Great achievements such as victory over Nazi Germany; putting the first satellite and human in space; building a massive industrial base and advancing the living and educational standards of the population have been undermined by political repression and incalculable human cost.

In a cool, non-polemical manner, the author shows how the contradictory parts of the Soviet experience are linked. Using post-Soviet materials and perspectives he examines the reasons for the successes and failures of the Soviet system. In particular, the book argues that the underlying reasons for the system's collapse can be found in the contradictions of the revolution which gave birth to it. The consequences are traced through the Stalin Revolution, the Great Terror, the Second World War, the Cold War, the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years down to Gorbachev's doomed attempt to transform the Soviet system. Particular attention is given to the divergence between the aspirations of the leadership and the social evolution of the ordinary Russian people. The study concludes with a survey of the post-Soviet scene from Yeltsin to Putin. The result is a volume indispensible to anyone who needs a readily comprehensible guide to the Russia that lies beyond the stereotypes.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...a well written, pithy, and concise snapshot of the Soviet system from 1917 to its collapse in the 1990s." --Choice

Choice
A well-written, pithy, and concise snapshot of the Soviet system from 1917 to its collapse in the 1990s.
Booknews
A political and economic history of the Soviet Union that, for the most part, focuses on the actions of the Bolshevik leadership's policies than their effects on wider society. Read (history, U. of Warwick) also pays considerable attention to the relations of the Bolsheviks with the other Communist parties of China, the Warsaw Pact, and the gadfly communist countries of Yugoslavia and Cuba. Beginning with the fall of the Tsar, the work traces Soviet history through to the transition period under Boris Yeltsin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780333731536
Publisher:
Macmillan Education UK
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Series:
European History in Perspective Series
Edition description:
2001
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.02(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

'...a stimulating and perceptive account of the rise and decline of the Soviet system.' - Ronald J. Hill, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin, SEER

'This is one of the most balanced treatments of the Soviet period that I have read.' - Professor Paul Dukes, University of Aberdeen

'An excellent, well researched book, written in a most accessible manner.' - Ronald Kowalski, University College Worcester

'...a fresh and individual account.' - Edwin Bacon, International History Review

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER READ is Reader in History at Warwick University.

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