The Soviet Century

The Soviet Century

by Moshe Lewin, Gregory Elliott
     
 

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A leading historian draws on an archive of previously unavailable material and guides us through the inner workings of Soviet power, from October 1917 to the final collapse in the early 1990s.

Overview

A leading historian draws on an archive of previously unavailable material and guides us through the inner workings of Soviet power, from October 1917 to the final collapse in the early 1990s.

Editorial Reviews

Eric Hobsbawm
“Probably no other Western historian of the USSR combines Moshe Lewin's personal experience of living with Russians from Stalin's day - as a young wartime soldier - to the post-communist era, with so profound a familiarity with the archives and the literature of the Soviet era. His reflections on The Soviet Century are an important contribution to emancipating Soviet history from the ideological heritage of the last century and should be essential reading for all who wish to understand it.”
Ian Kershaw
“Rich in its insights and original in its perspectives, Moshe Lewin's superb new book provides a master-class in understanding the structures and intricate workings of the Soviet system.”
R. W. Davies
“The Soviet Century is an original and stimulating survey, packed with insights and information, by an outstanding historian. It will enlighten both specialists and general readers about a crucial aspect of the modern world.”
Mark Harrison
“Moshe Lewin... has written a book of gripping scholarship. In The
Soviet Century he shows that the world cannot turn its back on Russia's past, and neither Russians nor anyone else should try to do so. As
Lewin writes, the Soviet system may be dead and buried but it lives on in Russia's search for a national identity. This search needs to be based on the truth, good or bad, about what happened under Communism.
The Soviet Century is an excellent place to look for it.”
Foreign Affairs
Lewin asks a metahistorical question: What was the Soviet Union all about? The answer, he says, is in the essence of the system. With the benefit of hindsight and new archival sources, he strips the Stalin and subsequent Khrushchev-Brezhnev eras down to their defining nature. Our original lens, fashioned from anticommunism and the misleading frame of totalitarianism, failed us by blurring the fundamental difference between the original Bolshevik order and the "agrarian despotism" of Stalinism, and by distorting the dramatic change underway from below. In stressing (quite rightly) the capricious, paranoid, unconstrained tyranny of Stalin the man, that view underestimated both the system's accomplishments and the paradoxes that transformed it into a debauched "bureaucratic absolutism," existing only for its own sake. The Soviet Union ended as its Russian predecessor did, and for much the same reason. Because Lewin's description of the Russian and Soviet deformation parallels what Putin's Russian critics say is happening again today (albeit in milder form), history, if they are right, may be more "present" than even Lewin imagines. And if they are wrong, his account is still much more than just an acute, resonant echo of the past.
From the Publisher
"Probably no other Western historian of the USSR combines Moshe Lewin’s personal experience of living with Russians from Stalin’s day—as a young wartime soldier—to the post-communist era, with so profound a familiarity with the archives and the literature of the Soviet era. His reflections on The Soviet Century are an important contribution to emancipating Soviet history from the ideological heritage of the last century and should be essential reading for all who wish to understand it.”—Eric Hobsbawm

“Rich in its insights and original in its perspectives, Moshe Lewin’s superb new book provides a master-class in understanding the structures and intricate workings of the Soviet system.”—Ian Kershaw

“The Soviet Century is an original and stimulating survey, packed with insights and information, by an outstanding historian. It will enlighten both specialists and general readers about a crucial aspect of the modern world.”—R. W. Davies

“Moshe Lewin ... has written a book of gripping scholarship. In The Soviet Century he shows that the world cannot turn its back on Russia’s past, and neither Russians nor anyone else should try to do so. As Lewin writes, the Soviet system may be dead and buried but it lives on in Russia’s search for a national identity. This search needs to be based on the truth, good or bad, about what happened under Communism. The Soviet Century is an excellent place to look for it.”—Mark Harrison

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844670161
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
02/17/2005
Pages:
407
Sales rank:
911,145
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

R. W. Davies
The Soviet Century is an original and stimulating survey, packed with insights and information, by an outstanding historian. It will enlighten both specialists and general readers about a crucial aspect of the modern world.
Eric Hobsbawm
Probably no other Western historian of the USSR combines Moshe Lewin's personal experience of living with Russians from Stalin's day - as a young wartime soldier - to the post-communist era, with so profound a familiarity with the archives and the literature of the Soviet era. His reflections on The Soviet Century are an important contribution to emancipating Soviet history from the ideological heritage of the last century and should be essential reading for all who wish to understand it.
Mark Harrison
Moshe Lewin... has written a book of gripping scholarship. In The Soviet Century he shows that the world cannot turn its back on Russia's past, and neither Russians nor anyone else should try to do so. As Lewin writes, the Soviet system may be dead and buried but it lives on in Russia's search for a national identity. This search needs to be based on the truth, good or bad, about what happened under Communism.
The Soviet Century is an excellent place to look for it.
Ian Kershaw
Rich in its insights and original in its perspectives, Moshe Lewin's superb new book provides a master-class in understanding the structures and intricate workings of the Soviet system.

Meet the Author

Moshe Lewin was a hugely respected historian of the Soviet Union. Professor of Soviet Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, his books include Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison and The Making of the Soviet System: Essays in the Social History of Interwar Russia.

From the Hardcover edition.

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