Author: Stephen Kotkin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2008-12-23
Genre: Political Science
Featuring extensive revisions to the text as well as a new introduction and epilogue--bringing the book completely up to date on the tumultuous politics of the previous decade and the long-term implications of the Soviet collapse--this compact, original, and engaging book offers the definitive account of one of the great historical events of the last fifty years. Combining historical and geopolitical analysis with an absorbing narrative, Kotkin draws upon extensive research, including memoirs by dozens of insiders and senior figures, to illuminate the factors that led to the demise of Communism and the USSR. The new edition puts the collapse in the context of the global economic and political changes from the 1970s to the present day. Kotkin creates a compelling profile of post Soviet Russia and he reminds us, with chilling immediacy, of what could not have been predicted--that the world's largest police state, with several million troops, a doomsday arsenal, and an appalling record of violence, would liquidate itself with barely a whimper. Throughout the book, Kotkin also paints vivid portraits of key personalities. Using recently released archive materials, for example, he offers a fascinating picture of Gorbachev, describing this virtuoso tactician and resolutely committed reformer as "flabbergasted by the fact that his socialist renewal was leading to the system's liquidation"--and more or less going along with it. At once authoritative and provocative, Armageddon Averted illuminates the collapse of the Soviet Union, revealing how "principled restraint and scheming self-interest brought a deadly system to meek dissolution." Acclaim for the First Edition: "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape." --The New Yorker "A triumph of the art of contemporary history. In fewer than 200 pagesKotkin elucidates the implosion of the Soviet empire--the most important and startling series of international events of the past fifty years--and clearly spells out why, thanks almost entirely to the 'principal restraint' of the Soviet leadership, that collapse didn't result in a cataclysmic war, as all experts had long forecasted." -The Atlantic Monthly "Concise and persuasive The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage." --The New York Review of Books
Author: Andrew J. Bacevich
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2007-07-03
Essays by a diverse and distinguished group of historians, political scientists, and sociologists examine the alarms, emergencies, controversies, and confusions that have characterized America's Cold War, the post-Cold War interval of the 1990s, and today's "Global War on Terror." This "Long War" has left its imprint on virtually every aspect of American life; by considering it as a whole, The Long War is the first volume to take a truly comprehensive look at America's response to the national-security crisis touched off by the events of World War II. Contributors consider topics ranging from grand strategy and strategic bombing to ideology and economics and assess the changing American way of war and Hollywood's surprisingly consistent depiction of Americans at war. They evaluate the evolution of the national-security apparatus and the role of dissenters who viewed the myriad activities of that apparatus with dismay. They take a fresh look at the Long War's civic implications and its impact on civil-military relations. More than a military history, The Long War examines the ideas, policies, and institutions that have developed since the United States claimed the role of global superpower. This protracted crisis has become a seemingly permanent, if not defining aspect of contemporary American life. In breaking down the old and artificial boundaries that have traditionally divided the postwar period into neat historical units, this volume provides a better understanding of the evolution of the United States and U.S. policy since World War II and offers a fresh perspective on our current national security predicament.
A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: a poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a top leader in a band of revolutionary zealots. When the band seizes control of the country in the aftermath of total world war, the former seminarian ruthlessly dominates the new regime until he stands as absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. While still building his power base within the Bolshevik dictatorship, he embarks upon the greatest gamble of his political life and the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the collectivization of all agriculture and industry across one sixth of the earth. Millions will die, and many more millions will suffer, but the man will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? In Stalin, Stephen Kotkin offers a biography that, at long last, is equal to this shrewd, sociopathic, charismatic dictator in all his dimensions. The character of Stalin emerges as both astute and blinkered, cynical and true believing, people oriented and vicious, canny enough to see through people but prone to nonsensical beliefs. We see a man inclined to despotism who could be utterly charming, a pragmatic ideologue, a leader who obsessed over slights yet was a precocious geostrategic thinker—unique among Bolsheviks—and yet who made egregious strategic blunders. Through it all, we see Stalin’s unflinching persistence, his sheer force of will—perhaps the ultimate key to understanding his indelible mark on history. Stalin gives an intimate view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography of power, bringing to the fore fresh materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. Kotkin rejects the inherited wisdom about Stalin’s psychological makeup, showing us instead how Stalin’s near paranoia was fundamentally political, and closely tracks the Bolshevik revolution’s structural paranoia, the predicament of a Communist regime in an overwhelmingly capitalist world, surrounded and penetrated by enemies. At the same time, Kotkin demonstrates the impossibility of understanding Stalin’s momentous decisions outside of the context of the tragic history of imperial Russia. The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement, a work that recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017
Author: Niall Ferguson
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2011-03-03
DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR If in the year 1411 you had been able to circumnavigate the globe, you would have been most impressed by the dazzling civilizations of the Orient. The Forbidden City was under construction in Ming Beijing; in the Near East, the Ottomans were closing in on Constantinople. By contrast, England would have struck you as a miserable backwater ravaged by plague, bad sanitation and incessant war. The other quarrelsome kingdoms of Western Europe - Aragon, Castile, France, Portugal and Scotland - would have seemed little better. As for fifteenth-century North America, it was an anarchic wilderness compared with the realms of the Aztecs and Incas. The idea that the West would come to dominate the Rest for most of the next half millennium would have struck you as wildly fanciful. And yet it happened. What was it about the civilization of Western Europe that allowed it to trump the outwardly superior empires of the Orient? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, was that the West developed six "killer applications" that the Rest lacked: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. The key question today is whether or not the West has lost its monopoly on these six things. If so, Ferguson warns, we may be living through the end of Western ascendancy. Civilization takes readers on their own extraordinary journey around the world - from the Grand Canal at Nanjing to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul; from Machu Picchu in the Andes to Shark Island, Namibia; from the proud towers of Prague to the secret churches of Wenzhou. It is the story of sailboats, missiles, land deeds, vaccines, blue jeans and Chinese Bibles. It is the defining narrative of modern world history.
The Global Revolution. A History of International Communism 1917-1991 establishes a relationship between the history of communism and the main processes of globalization in the past century. Drawing on a wealth of archival sources, Silvio Pons analyses the multifaceted and contradictory relationship between the Soviet Union and the international communist movement, to show how communism played a major part in the formation of our modern world. The volume presents the argument that during the age of wars from 1914 to 1945, the establishment of the Soviet state in Russia and the birth of the communist movement had an enormous impact because of their promise of world revolution and international civil war. Such perspective appeared even more plausible in the aftermath of the Second World War and of revolution in China, which paved the way for the expansion of communism in the post-colonial world. Communism challenged the West in the Cold War - by means of anti-capitalist modernization and anti-imperialist mobilization - showing itself to be a powerful factor in the politicization of global trends. However, the international legitimacy of communism declined rapidly in the post-war era. Soviet power exposed its inability to exercise hegemony, as distinct from domination. The consequences of Sovietization in Europe and the break between the Soviet Union and China were the primary reasons for the decline of communist influence and appeal. Since communism lost its political credibility and cultural cohesion, its global project had failed. The ground was prepared for the devastating impact of Western globalization on communist regimes in Europe and the Soviet Union.
Author: Jack A. Goldstone
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2014-01-06
From 1789 in France to 2011 in Cairo, revolutions have shaken the world. In their pursuit of social justice, revolutionaries have taken on the assembled might of monarchies, empires, and dictatorships. They have often, though not always, sparked cataclysmic violence, and have at times won miraculous victories, though at other times suffered devastating defeat. This Very Short Introduction illuminates the revolutionaries, their strategies, their successes and failures, and the ways in which revolutions continue to dominate world events and the popular imagination. Starting with the city-states of ancient Greece and Rome, Jack Goldstone traces the development of revolutions through the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and liberal constitutional revolutions such as in America, and their opposite--the communist revolutions of the 20th century. He shows how revolutions overturned dictators in Nicaragua and Iran and brought the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and examines the new wave of non-violent "color" revolutions-the Philippines' Yellow Revolution, Ukraine's Orange Revolution--and the Arab Uprisings of 2011-12 that rocked the Middle East. Goldstone also sheds light on the major theories of revolution, exploring the causes of revolutionary waves, the role of revolutionary leaders, the strategies and processes of revolutionary change, and the intersection between revolutions and shifting patterns of global power. Finally, the author examines the reasons for diverse revolutionary outcomes, from democracy to civil war and authoritarian rule, and the likely future of revolution in years to come. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Author: Stephen F. Cohen
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-23
Genre: Political Science
In this wide-ranging and acclaimed book, Stephen F. Cohen challenges conventional wisdom about the course of Soviet and post-Soviet history. Reexamining leaders from Nikolai Bukharin, Stalin's preeminent opponent, and Nikita Khrushchev to Mikhail Gorbachev and his rival Yegor Ligachev, Cohen shows that their defeated policies were viable alternatives and that their tragic personal fates shaped the Soviet Union and Russia today. Cohen's ramifying arguments include that Stalinism was not the predetermined outcome of the Communist Revolution; that the Soviet Union was reformable and its breakup avoidable; and that the opportunity for a real post-Cold War relationship with Russia was squandered in Washington, not in Moscow. This is revisionist history at its best, compelling readers to rethink fateful events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and the possibilities ahead. In his new epilogue, Cohen expands his analysis of U.S. policy toward post-Soviet Russia, tracing its development in the Clinton and Obama administrations and pointing to its initiation of a "new Cold War" that, he implies, has led to a fateful confrontation over Ukraine.
Author: Vladimir Gel'man
Publisher: Lexington Books
Release Date: 2014-06-25
Genre: Social Science
Reexamining Economic and Political Reforms in Russia, 1985–2000: Generations, Ideas, and Changes analyzes the impact of generational changes and ideational changes on major political and economic reforms conducted in Russia during the late twentieth century.
Author: Francine Hirsch
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 2014-10-03
When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, they set themselves the task of building socialism in the vast landscape of the former Russian Empire, a territory populated by hundreds of different peoples belonging to a multitude of linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups. Before 1917, the Bolsheviks had called for the national self-determination of all peoples and had condemned all forms of colonization as exploitative. After attaining power, however, they began to express concern that it would not be possible for Soviet Russia to survive without the cotton of Turkestan and the oil of the Caucasus. In an effort to reconcile their anti-imperialist position with their desire to hold on to as much territory as possible, the Bolsheviks integrated the national idea into the administrative-territorial structure of the new Soviet state. In Empire of Nations, Francine Hirsch examines the ways in which former imperial ethnographers and local elites provided the Bolsheviks with ethnographic knowledge that shaped the very formation of the new Soviet Union. The ethnographers—who drew inspiration from the Western European colonial context—produced all-union censuses, assisted government commissions charged with delimiting the USSR's internal borders, led expeditions to study "the human being as a productive force," and created ethnographic exhibits about the "Peoples of the USSR." In the 1930s, they would lead the Soviet campaign against Nazi race theories . Hirsch illuminates the pervasive tension between the colonial-economic and ethnographic definitions of Soviet territory; this tension informed Soviet social, economic, and administrative structures. A major contribution to the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, Empire of Nations also offers new insights into the connection between ethnography and empire.
Author: Michael L. Ross
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-03-04
Genre: Political Science
Countries that are rich in petroleum have less democracy, less economic stability, and more frequent civil wars than countries without oil. What explains this oil curse? And can it be fixed? In this groundbreaking analysis, Michael L. Ross looks at how developing nations are shaped by their mineral wealth--and how they can turn oil from a curse into a blessing. Ross traces the oil curse to the upheaval of the 1970s, when oil prices soared and governments across the developing world seized control of their countries' oil industries. Before nationalization, the oil-rich countries looked much like the rest of the world; today, they are 50 percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats--and twice as likely to descend into civil war--than countries without oil. The Oil Curse shows why oil wealth typically creates less economic growth than it should; why it produces jobs for men but not women; and why it creates more problems in poor states than in rich ones. It also warns that the global thirst for petroleum is causing companies to drill in increasingly poor nations, which could further spread the oil curse. This landmark book explains why good geology often leads to bad governance, and how this can be changed.
This volume consists of a collection of essays devoted to study of the most recent educational reform in Russia. In his first decree Boris Yeltsin proclaimed education a top priority of state policy. Yet the economic decline which accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a crippling blow to reformist aspirations, and to the existing school system itself. The public lost faith in school reform and by the mid-1990s a reaction had set in. Nevertheless, large-scale changes have been effected in finance, structure, governance and curricula. At the same time, there has been a renewed and widespread appreciation for the positive aspects of the Soviet legacy in schooling. The essays presented here compare current educational reform to reforms of the past, analyze it in a broader cultural, political and social context, and study the shifts that have occurred at the different levels of schooling 'from political decision-making and changes in school administration to the rewriting textbooks and teachers' everyday problems. The authors are both Russian educators, who have played a leading role in implementation of the reform, and Western scholars, who have been studying it from its very early stages. Together, they formulate an intricate but cohesive picture, which is in keeping with the complex nature of the reform itself. Contributors: Kara Brown, (Indiana University) * Ben Eklof (Indiana University) * Isak D. Froumin, (World Bank, Moscow) * Larry E. Holmes (University of South Alabama) * Igor Ionov, (Russian History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) * Viacheslav Karpov & Elena Lisovskaya, (Western Michigan University) * Vera Kaplan, (Tel Aviv University) * Stephen T. Kerr, (University of Washington) * James Muckle, (University of Nottingham) * Nadya Peterson, (Hunter College) * Scott Seregny, (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) * Alexander Shevyrev, (Moscow State University) * Janet G. Vaillant, (Harvard University)
Author: Diana B. Turk
Release Date: 2014-03-05
Teaching Recent Global History explores innovative ways to teach world history, beginning with the early 20th century. The authors’ unique approach unites historians, social studies teachers, and educational curriculum specialists to offer historically rich, pedagogically innovative, and academically rigorous lessons that help students connect with and deeply understand key events and trends in recent global history. Highlighting the best scholarship for each major continent, the text explores the ways that this scholarship can be adapted by teachers in the classroom in order to engage and inspire students. Each of the eight main chapters highlights a particularly important event or theme, which is then complemented by a detailed discussion of a particular methodological approach. Key features include: • An overarching narrative that helps readers address historical arguments; • Relevant primary documents or artifacts, plus a discussion of a particular historical method well-suited to teaching about them; • Lesson plans suitable for both middle and secondary level classrooms; • Document-based questions and short bibliographies for further research on the topic. This invaluable book is ideal for any aspiring or current teacher who wants to think critically about how to teach world history and make historical discussions come alive for students.
Author: Brian D. Taylor
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2011-02-21
Genre: Political Science
This book argues that Putin's strategy for rebuilding the state was fundamentally flawed. Taylor demonstrates that a disregard for the way state officials behave toward citizens - state quality - had a negative impact on what the state could do - state capacity. Focusing on those organizations that control state coercion, what Russians call the 'power ministries', Taylor shows that many of the weaknesses of the Russian state that existed under Boris Yeltsin persisted under Putin. Drawing on extensive field research and interviews, as well as a wide range of comparative data, the book reveals the practices and norms that guide the behavior of Russian power ministry officials (the so-called siloviki), especially law enforcement personnel. By examining siloviki behavior from the Kremlin down to the street level, State Building in Putin's Russia uncovers the who, where and how of Russian state building after communism.