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Can /his/ suggest a good, impartial book on the history of the

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Can /his/ suggest a good, impartial book on the history of the Soviet Union? I'm looking for something that explains its government and economy system, but the October Revolution/industrialization/Cold War books are also welcome.
Picture unrelated, Chelyabinsk tractor factory.
Collapse of an Empire, Yegor Gaidar.

Yeah, Gaidar wasn't exactly the most popular person ever but it's actually really well-written.
He doesn't really seem without bias, given his economic policy. I could be wrong, though.
>I'm looking for something that explains its government and economy system, but the October Revolution

Richard Pipes and Orlando Figes.
>"Pipes clearly does not like Lenin or Bolshevism. Because of his strong opinions, which show through in his writing, the book is more engaging than if he had worried about feigning objectivity. The Russian Revolution was tragic and evil, and set the stage for modern totalitarianism and genocide."
One of the reviews. I specifically asked for impartial.
He definitely is biased but he also gives a lot of valuable insight other people couldn't notice.
Grover Furr.
Furr is deeply limited by his motivation to produce an apologetic for Stalin. Try some Conquest plus Strauss' social history to 1940 ( https://www.marxists.org/archive/strauss/ )
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Learn russian and get this book.


That's no way to spell a name.
Cold War bibliography

Heres some books from soviet section that seem relevant to your request:

Haslam, Jonathan. Russia’s Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011.
>In an effort to fill a gap in the prevailing Cold War historiography, which generally focuses on a Western perspective, Haslam presents the other side. Using archival material from numerous countries, including Russia, he analyzes East–West relations from 1917 to 1989. Haslam discusses the ways in which the Soviets exploited Western weaknesses.

Powaski, Ronald E. The Cold War: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1917–1991. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
>Powaski examines the contentious relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union within the broader context of the Cold War. He argues that the Cold War “crystallized” because of the divergent paths taken by the two nations after 1917 and that the origins of the Cold War were rooted in Czarist Russia and the “infancy” of the United States.

Zubok, Vladislav M. A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
>Despite the title, Zubok’s book is not really about empire, failed or otherwise. Zubok chronicles Soviet leaders’ relationships with the United States from World War II until the USSR’s dissolution. Zubok provides an important analysis of the difficulties of policymaking.
Here are some works from it on Chile, which seems to be a favorite topic on /his/:

Harmer, Tanya. Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
>While Castro applauded Allende’s election as Chile’s president, Nixon pledged to bring him down. A three-year battle resulted in a military coup and a twenty-year dictatorship. Harmer argues that the Chilean battle helped dictate the future of Latin America and that, rather than the US–Soviet conflict, the US–Latin American conflict shaped it.

Qureshi, Lubna Z. Nixon, Kissenger, and Allende: U.S. Involvement in the 1973 Coup in Chile. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.
>Qureshi argues that Nixon and Kissinger were more concerned about the threat to US hegemony posed by the election of Allende than about its threat to the physical security of the United States. They feared that Allende-like candidates would subsequently be elected in other Latin American countries, which would undermine the US hegemony.

Iran as well:

Blake, Kristen. The U.S.–Soviet Confrontation in Iran, 1945–1962: A Case Study in the Annals of the Cold War. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2009.
>Covering the period 1945–1962, Blake analyzes the conclusion of the Soviet–US rivalry in Iran and the ways in which it affected that nation’s political and economic development. In addition, Blake weaves the story of the evolution of US–Iranian relations into the narrative.
Fawcett, Louise L’Estrange. Iran and the Cold War: The Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
>Fawcett examines a landmark crisis of the early Cold War. She argues that the Azerbaijan crisis shaped the development of Iranian politics. Not only does Fawcett focus on the domestic aspects of the crisis, but she also delves into the roles of the three external powers—the Soviet Union, United States, and Britain—and the impact of their policies on Iran.

Hasanli, Jamil. At the Dawn of the Cold War: The Soviet–American Crisis over Iranian Azerbaijan, 1941–1946. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
>Hasanli argues that the Azerbaijan crisis, which marked the commencement of the Cold War, brought the Soviet Union into conflict with the United States and Britain for the first time after WWII and undermined their wartime cooperation. Examining this complex crisis from several perspectives, Hasanli argues that understanding this event is crucial to understanding the Cold War.

Marsh, Steve. Anglo-American Relations and Cold War Oil: Crisis in Iran. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
>In focusing on the conflict between the Iranian Government and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), Marsh argues that the differences between the other two players—Britain and the United States—were more than tactical. They “represented a fundamental clash of priorities.” Britain and the United States wanted different resolutions to the oil crisis in Iran.

Finally another bibliography on "comparative Eurasian politics" which probably has the most relevant books you ask for OP:


Poe, Marshall T. The Russian Moment in World History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.
>A short book that eloquently summarizes the key themes of the Russian state, from medieval Rus through to the Soviet Union. Ideal for an undergraduate audience with no background in Russian history.
>Disses Furr as biased
>Recommends Conquest

Did you type that with a straight face?
Cohen, Stephen F. Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
>Cohen argues that Soviet history was not doomed to follow the Stalinist path, that reformers could have put the USSR on a different path in the 1920s or after Stalin’s death.

Keep, John L.H. Last of the Empires: A History of the Soviet Union, 1945–1991. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
>A textbook history of the Soviet Union since World War II.

Von Laue, Theodore H. Why Lenin? Why Stalin? Why Gorbachev? The Rise and Fall of the Soviet System. 3d ed. Harlow, UK: Longman, 1997.
>A succinct statement of the argument that Stalinism was one answer to the question of how to modernize Russia in order to enable it to compete with the West.

Yurchak, Alexei. Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.
>A widely read book by the Berkeley anthropologist Yurchak, in which he tracks the ideological decay of the USSR during the late Brezhnev era through interviews and personal correspondence.

Dunlop, John B. The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Union. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.
>A thorough account of the years 1985–1991, focusing on the political obstacles that doomed Gorbachev’s reform efforts. Dunlop argues that it was the rise of the Russian Republic within the complex Soviet federal structure, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, that proved Gorbachev’s undoing.

Ellman, Michael, and Vladimir Kontorovich, eds. The Destruction of the Soviet Economic System: An Insiders’ History. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1998.
>Based on interviews with former planning officials, Ellman and Kontorovich contend that the Soviet economy was stable until Gorbachev’s reforms disrupted the planning bureaucracy.
N N Nikulin
Kotkin, Stephen. Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970–2000. Rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
>The best single-volume treatment of the Soviet collapse, weaving the main causal factors into an accessible yet sophisticated account.
last one

Kotkin, Stephen. Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
>A case study of life in a Urals city at the heart of Stalin’s 1930s industrialization drive.
Given the fact that OP hasn't read any Fitzpatrick, Conquest on the purge is a good starting place. Besides, a social democratic / labourite bias is easier to read for.
Fair enough

At a quick glance at the pdfs linked in the book recs starting at >>297670

They seem good, and what OP is asking for, what reckon you?
Kotkin's great. Not specific to the question OP asked, but he has a really good young stalin biography as well.

>tfw taking a class with him next semester
>young stalin
isnt that fiore tho?
Ah sorry didn't specify. The book is on the subject of (younger) Stalin as it is part of a trilogy that will cover all of Stalin's life. Montefiore has an actual book called "Young Stalin," I only meant young as an adjective. I would highly recommend Kotkin's over Montefiore's.

Kotkin's is called Paradoxes of Power.
I would recommend scumbag montecarlo eating bleach. Mostly for anonymously reviewing his own books online.
did he really? Can you link them?

But yeah I didn't want to be too harsh on him because his books are highly entertaining, but I wouldn't trust them as educational sources kek.
yeah i heard about it when he did that public interview with zizek which i enjoyed

however, i remember some anon on /lit/ expressing his dislike for the book saying it was convoluted or not convincing. what you do you have to say to that?
I read porn on the toilet, and fiction published as fiction.
Red Plenty if you want a fantastic pop history account (and personal stories of those living in the USSR).

its a really fun and informative book.
"The black book of communism" has a very well written part on the USSR.
I'd suggest that's the only thing to read from that work, and I remember when drudging through the historiography of it that Service tried to get the chapter pulled when he read the intro and conclusion.
>I'd suggest that's the only thing to read from that work,
Yeah the rest is pretty boring.

>and I remember when drudging through the historiography of it that Service tried to get the chapter pulled when he read the intro and conclusion.
That's correct. He objected to the comparison with nazi germany in the introduction.
Personally I'd object to the only theorisation of modern mass-death being non-catholicism, but there you go. That and the sloppy invective reasoning, the absence of an introduction to the book, the lack of a thesis, etc.
> the lack of a thesis
Well, it's not supposed to have a thesis. The objective of the book, as described in the introduction, is to try to establish a death toll of all the self-proclaimed socialist countries of the 20th century. Its purpose was to catalog communist crimes, not analyse them.
Except he suggests in (IIRC) the third or fourth to last para that non-catholicism is a general cause of mass death in the 20th century, and he disguises the actual thesis. Theses keep us sane, they bring forth the undisclosed.
>Except he suggests in (IIRC) the third or fourth to last para that non-catholicism is a general cause of mass death in the 20th century
Really? I just checked and he doesn't say that at all. He quoted the pope Pie XI who warned the world against communism. He didn't say anything about non-catholicism causing death.

Do we have the same edition? I have the original version, in french.
>Theses keep us sane, they bring forth the undisclosed.
I actually agree, this is why I found the book too disjointed and boring.
I read the approved English edition very painfully closely.
I enjoyed that interview as well.

I can definitely see where that anon was coming from. The book is very large in scope and there are many parts where Stalin himself is absent from the writing for a long time because of this. Also, the large scope means that sometimes I feel he gives the shaft to certain topics that are in the background, but I feel like that has to be a given since he's trying to write a biography.

He's also not the best writer, so though I'm not specifically offended by the prose I have heard some people complain about it.

However, I thought his portrayal of Stalin himself was very good. He avoided the usual psychohistory that Tucker and Montefiore made so popular and also avoided the deterministic history I've seen in other places.

Did he have specific complaints about why it was not convincing? I'd like to try to respond to them if he did, since I really thought the book was fantastic.

(That said, Stalin/the Soviet Union are not a time period I specialize in or anything, just something I enjoy reading about in my free time, so if someone more informed wants to pop in and say "jk this book is all propaganda" they should feel free to).
I couldn't remember so I looked up in the archive. This was one of them lol:

"Kotkin's book sucks. What a waste of money that was.

Lenin holds to his principles

Lenin compromises his principles

someone also posted this amazon review

didn't read this thread, but:
also the last two posts in the linked thread
Imperial and Soviet Russia, David Christian.
This book is very good, and covers a lot of aspects. You should however keep in mind, that he doesn't question the production outputs, he delivers level-headed facts. It is for the reader to draw conclusions or analyses of the text.
My favorites are Davis & Wheatcroft for economics

And Geoffrey Roberts for geopolitics and war.
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