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Stalin's Russia (Reading History) Paperback – May 28, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0340731512 ISBN-10: 0340731516 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Reading History
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2 edition (May 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340731516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340731512
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Students will find it particularly useful... more experienced scholars will find a fresh and unhackneyed approach... I particularly liked the way in which short-term circumstances and much larger impersonal forces are brought together in a convincing synthesis."—Slavonica

About the Author

Chris Ward is a Lecturer in Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andreas Umland on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Chris Ward provides a well structured, useful text book that should be welcome to teachers of modern Russian history. His book sets an example of historical writing that currently seems especially serviceable to the field of Stalinism studies. Ward neither presents nor analyzes entirely new data. Nor does he develop a truly novel interpretation of Stalinism. His study essentially constitutes a long review essay on the literature on Stalinism, and an extensive general introduction to the field. This determines his structuring of the book.

The chapters do not follow an exclusively chronological line, but refer to the issues of contention and various sub debates in Soviet studies. After an outline, in the introduction, of the changes in the source base of Stalinism studies in pre- and post glasnost Russia, the chapters discuss:

- various explanations of the rise of Stalin, 1917 29 (ch. 1);

- conflicting assessments of the industrialization campaign,1924 41 (ch. 2);

- contending accounts of the reasons for and results of the collectivization drive, 1927 41 (ch. 3);

- diverging views on the origins and nature of the purges, 1928 41 (ch. 4);

- different evaluations of the sources, successes and failures of Stalinist foreign policy, 1922 41 (ch. 5);

- opposing appraisals of the war period and late Stalinism, 1941 53 (ch. 6); and

- competing interpretations of the role of, and changes in, Soviet culture and society during Stalin's rule, 1928 53 (ch. 7).

The conclusion "History and Stalin's Russia" juxtaposes the consequences of different historiographical approaches for understanding the Stalinist period. It finally gives an outlook where future research into Stalinism may and should go.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although the preface says that this book was designed for undergraduates, it is not. It was designed for Chris Ward. The author tends to bypass any explaination of who and what historical figures and organizations were. Just one example: What exactly the Checka was, although Ward mentions it, is never explained at all. The racing "narrative" jumps around from one factoid to another. There is no sense of continutity. I was baffled as to what Ward's point was at the end of the first chapter and found myself more confused about Stalinism than before.
Even more, Ward's use of an overwhelming amount of tangential footnotes is irritating at best and only serves to confuse the reader at worst. Each chapter is arbitrarily and very post-modernly divided into a "narrative" section, an "interpretations" section and an "explainations" section.
I wanted to send Ward off to a gulag after reading this.
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