The Soviet Union - A Short History
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More About This Title The Soviet Union - A Short History


An acclaimed historian explores the dynamic history of the twentieth century Soviet Union

In ten concise and compelling chapters, The Soviet Union covers the entire Soviet Union experience from the years 1904 to 1991 by putting the focus on three major themes: warfare, welfare, and empire. Throughout the book, Mark Edele—a noted expert on the topic—clearly demonstrates that the Soviet Union was more than simply "Russia." Instead, it was a multi-ethnic empire.

The author explains that there were many incarnations of Soviet society throughout its turbulent history, each one a representative of Soviet socialism. The text covers a wide range of topics: The end Romanov empire; The outbreak of World War I; The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917; The breakdown of the old empire and its re-constitution in the Civil War; The New Economic Policy; The rise of Stalin; The Soviet’s role in World War II; Post war normalization; and Gorbachev’s attempt to end the Cold War. The author also explores the challenges encountered by the successor states, their struggles with and against democracy, capitalism, authoritarianism, and war. This vital resource:

  • Provides a concise overview of the history of the Soviet Union
  • Includes information on the latest research that takes the broad view of the history of the Soviet Union and its place in world history
  • Treats scholarly disagreements as part of the history of the influence of the Soviet Union on the course of the twentieth century
  • Offers suggestion for further readings and a link to online primary sources

Written for students of twentieth century Russia, the Russian Revolution, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, and twentieth century World History, The Soviet Union: A Short History is a volume in the popular Wiley Short Histories series.


Preface ix

Part I The First Age of Violence 1

1 Twilight of Empire (1904–1914) 3

2 Imperial Apocalypse (1914–1918) 23

3 Regathering the Empire (1918–1923) 49

Part II The Interwar Years 73

4 Consolidating the Empire (1921–1928) 75

Part III The Second Age of Violence 97

5 Building the Warfare State (1928–1938) 99

6 A Long Second World War (1937–1949) 123

Part IV From Warfare to Welfare 145

7 Normalization (1944–1957) 147

8 Mature Socialism (1956–1985) 167

Part V Imperial Discontent 189

9 Reform, Crisis, Breakdown (1985–1991) 191

10 After Empire: Epilogue 217

Index 221