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Russia: A Long View Hardcover – October 12, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this monumental work, Yegor Gaidar, the leading Russian economist of his generation, shows how Russia's economic and political development in the twentieth Century fit into the sweep of global history. Informed by a lifetime of scholarship and practical experience, Russia: A Long View is a tour de force that will enliven debates about Russia's place in the world for years to come.

(Daniel Treisman, professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles; author of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev)

In the mid-1990s, Yegor Gaidar was asked what Russia will look like in twenty years. He said, with amazing prescience, that he was certain it will be a market economy, but far less certain that it will be a democracy. Like the prediction, this book reflects Gaidar's deep and distinctive perspective on long-term economic development, Russia's transition, and Russia's future.

(Andrei Shleifer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University)

Yegor Gaidar was Russia's 'national treasure.' A reformer of exceptional caliber and daring policy initiatives, he was also a scholar of profound erudition. His luminous writings in this volume show his acute insights into the economics and politics of recent Russian history. They also underline the tragedy of his premature death, which has deprived Russia of his manifold talents at a critical juncture in its troubled transition.

(Padma Desai, Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems, Columbia University)

The causes of modern economic growth are one great mystery, the sources of Russia's plight another. Only someone with the intellectual ambition of Yegor Gaidar would try to penetrate both mysteries in a single volume.

(Edward Lucas, The Wall Street Journal)

The analysis is remarkably sharp and succinct, devoid of self-exculpation, and informed by an astonishing array of Russian and Western sources. Readers with little knowledge of Russia will be stimulated by the book's ambitious scope, and students of Russian history will be treated to a fresh perspective on critical issues, including an arresting explanation of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

About the Author

Yegor Gaidar (1956--2009) was a Russian economist and politician and a key architect of economic reforms in Russia's transition to a market economy.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (October 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262017415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017411
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sinohey TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This monumental work could only have been written by someone on the inside, with a front row perspective of the trials and tribulations of the metamorphosis of post-communist Russia. The author, whose untimely death at age 53, had a grasp of Russian cultural history and a clear vision of its future economical and political development. Gaidar is credited by Russian politicians and Western economists as being instrumental in laying the foundation of a market-based economy in the post-Soviet Russia, in his capacity first as Minister of Economics and First Vice Prime Minister in Boris Yeltsin's cabinet in from 1991 to 1992, then as Minister of Finance and Acting Prime Minister for 6 months in 1992. After resigning from the government in 1994 Yegor Timurovich Gaidar (19656-2009) continued to influence reform and the overall political landscape of his country until his death, from a myocardial infarction, in 2009.

This massive 543 pages book, originally written in Gaidar's native Russian, was first published in 2005. It was later updated by the author in 2008, meticulously translated to English by Antonina W. Buis and published posthumously. This treatise follows his previous book "Lasting time: Russia in the world", that introduced his innovative ideas for Russian reform to a Western audience.
"Russia: The long view" is a dense book, replete with statistics, figures and charts to emphasize that economies are influenced by "an incomplete, continuing process of dynamic transformations without precedent in world history".
Gaidar, the historian, uses the 15th century conquest by Moscow of the medieval Novgorod Republic to explain the alienation of Russia from western European states and its lack of modernization until the early 20th century when it was beginning to catch up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CuriousOne on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the very best history books I have read. Not only does Gaidar provide an in-depth look at Russia, but his sweeping view of human history provides insight into much of every country's triumphs and tragedies. The agrarian stage of development from tribal, hunter/gatherer societies, was a factor in most of the Western Hemisphere's turbulent history. It struck me after reading this account of Russian serfs that there was a parallel with the US's pre-20th Century history which pitted the agrarian south against the industrialized north, culminating in the Civil War which killed more people than all other American wars. It's interesting that the same conditions prevailed in the pre-Civil War South as in Czarist Russia. Serfs had no more freedom than the American slaves. Study Latin American history and you also see the same problems of freedom in the agrarian level of development. Gaidar's perspective is logical and clear-headed, rather than political. All American history books, on the other hand, are political.

The industrial age is now transitioning into an electronic age, and yet there are still people on earth living in both the hunter/gatherer stage, and the agrarian stage. If anyone is interested in understanding the world, this book is a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David A. Gellatly on February 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Russia A Long View is more than just a well written, deeply researched in depth economic history of Russia. The first seven chapters are probably the best overview of economic history and development and the most coherent and persuasive explanation of the rise of the West in general and why the industrial revolution was fated to start in England and the Netherlands in specific. The description of the rise and fall of the Soviet economy is excellent. The author's analysis is sophisticated, yet comprehensible to the layman. It benefits from the author's own Soviet/Russian background, which makes the analysis and conclusions even more persuasive. The translation is outstanding - fluid and easy to read. The extensive footnotes are excellent and almost as informative as the main text itself. There are numerous tables and statistics, but they are clearly organized and presented and are used to complement the well written text rather than as a substitute for it.

The author's analysis of the reason's for the inevitable (in his mind) collapse of the Soviet/Socialist system and its final days is particularly compelling.

Read and be enlightened

This is clearly more of a textbook than a popular history, but if one has the perseverance to devote the time to it, it reads better than most popular history, especially economic history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gaidar gives a several-miles-high overview of global economic history as it pertains to Russia. The account he presents is subject to debate and he glosses over more than a few issues that should be more fully explored (but he is up front when does this). The translation is ponderous to say the least (e.g. "monetary emissions" is the term used for money creation/issuance), making it difficult to relate the ideas of the book to concepts that would be readily familiar to English-speaking readers.
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Simply the best intro to the modern era as a result of historic progress, while Russia is the centerpoint Europe is certainly given ample consideration. Anyone with an interest in history/geopolitics should read this instead of whatever's currently on their bookshelf. I don't often re-read books, this is one which will certainly get a re-read from me.
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