Through sources and documents, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union by Richard Sakwa places the Soviet experience in historical and comparative context. The author introduces each source in this volume fully and provides commentary and analysis. Using eye-witness accounts, official documents and new materials which have just come to light, Richard Sakwa gives an historical overview of the Soviet Union from the revolution of 1906 to the fall of the regime.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Richard Sakwa's book is a compendium of original documents (or sometimes excerpts) that relate to Soviet history. The author restricts his own words to explanatory comments that set a particular document in context and sometimes relate the effect the document had on Soviet history. From the letters of nineteenth century Marxists to Gorbachev's last speech of December, 1991, the documents tell a story. However, everything depends on the choice of documents.
Certain key documents seem to be missing. In particular, the decree, issued not long after Stalin's death, that transferred the secret police's vast industrial empire to the relevent civilian and military bureaucracies, is not presented. This decree is key to understanding the end of Stalinism, because it ended the secret police's need for vast numbers of arrested slaves. In line with this omission, it is not made clear that the number of political arrests after Stalin's death was several orders of magnitude less...
A little wordy and sometimes hard to find the main idea in each chapter. There is quite a bit of info in in the book.
This is a collection of quoted writings by Lenin and his contemporaries. The author does give a paragraph summary here and there, but this is not useful for study of the Soviet Union. I want my 30 bucks back.
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