Russia and the Soviet Union / Edition 6

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This lucid account of Russian and Soviet history presents major trends and events from ancient Kievan Rus’ to Vladimir Putin’s presidency of the twenty-first century. Now thoroughly revised and updated, Russia and the Soviet Union does not shy away from controversial topics, including the impact of the Mongol conquest, the paradoxes of Peter the Great, the “inevitability” of the 1917 Revolution, the Stalinist terror, and the Gorbachev reform effort. The sixth edition includes a new chapter on Vladimir Putin, additional treatment of social and foreign policy issues, and an updated chapter on post-Soviet Russia and the Yeltsin era. Distinguished by its brevity and amply supplemented with useful maps, illustrations, photos, and suggested readings, this essential text provides balanced coverage of all periods of Russian history and incorporates economic, social, and cultural developments as well as politics and foreign policy.


1. Ancient Russia and the Kievan State
2. Russia Divided and Conquered, 1054–1462
3. Moscow and “the Gathering of the Russian Lands,” 1328–1533
4. Ivan the Terrible and the Time of Troubles, 1533–1618
5. The Molding of Russian Society, 1613–1689
6. Peter the Great and Westernization, 1689–1725
7. Change and Continuity, 1725–1801
8. Power, Backwardness, and Creativity, 1801–1855
9. Reform, Reaction, and Modernization, 1855–1904
10. Revolution, Reform, and War, 1904–1917
11. Revolution, Civil War, and the Founding of Soviet Society, 1917–1928
12. The Second Revolution, the Stalinist System, and World War II, 1928–1946
13. The Soviet Union as a Superpower: Change, Stagnation, and “Cold War,” 1946–1984
14. The Gorbachev “Revolution” and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1983–1991
15. The “New” Russia in the Post-Soviet Era 1991–2000
16. Putin’s Paradoxes

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Comprehensive, balanced, up to date, engaging, and deftly written, Russia and the Soviet Union is the best brief history of Russia available today. The book is perfectly suited for use in introductory courses on Russian history and for general readers seeking to make sense of Russia over the centuries. Thompson has packed a lifetime of thoughtful reflection, teaching, and distinguished research into this volume."
-Donald J. Raleigh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Through a fresh format and effective revisions, John Thompson has rendered still more succinct what was already a very neat, comprehensive and highly readable text. With updated biographies ('Further Reading') in several chapters and some new illustrations, as well as an additional chapter on Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia and the Soviet Union in its sixth edition remains a superlative text for both students of Russian history and the casual reader."
-Vicki Hendrickson Grove, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Russia and the Soviet Union is a superb one-semester text for a course in Russian history from origins to the near-present. Thompson does a judicious job of introducing key debates and does not hesitate to express his own considered opinion where warranted. The balanced coverage of medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods is extremely important for introductory courses, as is the newly revised section of Russia under Putin. Overall, this is a readable, exciting, stimulating book which always has students asking for more."
-David W. McFadden, Fairfield University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813343952
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Edition description: Sixth Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 415
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John M. Thompson, a graduate of Columbia’s Russian Institute, taught history at Indiana University for seventeen years and was a distinguished visiting professor at the US Air Force Academy and the Air War College. He currently teaches Russian and world history at Midcoast Senior College in Maine.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Ancient Russia and the Kievan state 1

Ch. 2 Russia divided and conquered, 1054-1462 29

Ch. 3 Moscow and the "gathering of the Russian lands," 1328-1533 47

Ch. 4 Ivan the Terrible and the Time of Troubles, 1533-1618 67

Ch. 5 The molding of Russian society, 1613-1689 87

Ch. 6 Peter the Great and Westernization, 1689-1725 107

Ch. 7 Change and continuity, 1725-1801 125

Ch. 8 Power, backwardness, and creativity, 1801-1855 149

Ch. 9 Reform, reaction, and modernization, 1855-1940 169

Ch. 10 Revolution, reform, and war, 1904-1917 193

Ch. 11 Revolution, civil war, and the founding of Soviet society, 1917-1928 215

Ch. 12 The second revolution, the Stalinist system, and World War II, 1928-1946 243

Ch. 13 The Soviet Union as a superpower : change, stagnation, and "Cold War," 1946-1984 269

Ch. 14 The Gorbachev "revolution" and the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1983-1991 307

Ch. 15 The "new" Russia in the post-Soviet era, 1991-2000 335

Ch. 16 Putin's paradoxes, 2000-2008 363

Notes 391

Index 395

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