The Soviet Century

Front Cover
Verso, 2005 - History - 416 pages
The USSR may no longer exist, but its history remains highly relevant--perhaps today more so than ever. Yet it is a history which for a long time proved impossible to write, not simply due to the lack of accessible documentation, but also because it lay at the heart of an ideological confrontation which obscured the reality of the Soviet regime.

In The Soviet Century, Moshe Lewin traces this history in all its complexity, drawing widely upon archive material previously unavailable. Highlighting key factors such as demography, economics, culture and political repression, Lewin guides us through the inner workings of a system which is still barely understood. In the process he overturns widely held beliefs about the USSR's leaders, the State-Party system and the Soviet bureaucracy, the "tentacled octopus" which held the real power.

Departing from a simple linear history, The Soviet Century takes in all the continuities and ruptures that led, via a complex route, from the founding revolution of October 1917 to the final collapse of the late 1980s and early 1990s, passing through the Stalinist dictatorship and the impossible reforms of the Khrushchev years.
 

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Focuses on the key features of the Soviet Union: For those already familiar with the history of the USSR, Moshe Lewin's "The Soviet Century" is a very exciting book. Instead of offering a ... Read full review

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Established scholars who have written extensively on the Middle East and Arab-Israeli issues, Kimmerling (George S. Wise Professor of Sociology, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and Migdal (international ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

STALIN KNOWS WHERE HE WANTS TO GET TO AND IS GETTING THERE
12
AUTONOMIZATION VERSUS FEDERATION 19223
19
CADRES INTO HERETICS
32
THE PARTY AND ITS APPARATY
39
SOCIAL FLUX AND SYSTEMIC PARANOIA
52
THE IMPACT OF COLLECTIVIZATION
66
BETWEEN LEGALITY AND BACCHANALIA
73
HOW DID STALIN RULE?
84
THE ADMINISTRATORS BRUISED BUT THRIVING
217
SOME LEADERS
236
KOSYGIN AND ANDROPOV
248
LENINS TIME AND WORLDS
271
BACKWARDNESS AND RELAPSE
292
MODERNITY WITH A TWIST
310
URBANIZATION SUCCESSES AND FAILURES
317
LABOUR FORCE AND DEMOGRAPHY A CONUNDRUM
334

THE PURGES AND THEIR RATIONALE
98
THE SCALE OF THE PURGES
106
THE CAMPS AND THE INDUSTRIAL EMPIRE OF THE NKVD
113
ENDGAME
127
AN AGRARIAN DESPOTISM?
143
E PUR SI MUOVE
153
THE KGB AND THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION
178
THE AVALANCHE OF URBANIZATION
202
THE BUREAUCRATIC MAZE
342
TELLING THE LIGHT FROM THE SHADE?
361
WHAT WAS THE SOVIET SYSTEM?
378
Glossary of Russian Terms
391
Appendices
395
Note on Sources and References
405
Index
407
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About the author (2005)

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.

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