I studied the USSR a few years ago, but I've mostly forgotten the details. I am in search of a couple *well-respected, peer-reviewed* books by renowned historians in the field to give me an in-depth understanding of the USSR.
Simon Pirani. (1917-1921)
Sheila Fitzpatrick. (1920s-1940s nomenklatura)
Vladimir Andrle. (1920s-1940s proletariat)
Erich Strauss. (1917-1940 economic history) https://www.marxists.org/archive/strauss/
After that fucked if I know.
Don't read conquest, read fitzpatrick instead.
>missed traveling to the USSR in person by one measly generation
1) It is a novel
2) It is a primary source
3) It is a facticious novel, a very difficult genre to read
4) Solly had a religious experience at camp, which changed him and his writing
5) The facticious elements are based on Solly's experience, what he heard at camp, what he heard from others after camp, what he heard from others after camp that they heard at camp, etc.
It is too difficult a source for a beginner.
I gave the review in this thread that it was a-historical.
I've heard of Mancur and I don't read Institutional Economics at all. From the introductory section and segment of chapter I read I'd suggest it is a good, quality read. Especially if you disagree with it.