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6 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Approach, Objective For the Most Part, April 28, 2005
This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
This was the first book I read about Russian history, at all. I would recommend that anyone else looking into the history of the Soviet Union first read other materials regarding the 19th century before reading this for extra background information. Otherwise, this book is great, easy to read from any standpoint; and pretty objective (which is hard considering the nature of the topic).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense and well written, November 19, 2008
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This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
This book is dense and incredibly well written. Anyone wanting to truly get insight into why the USSR came to being needs to read this. The First Socialist Society does not get mired in political pandering or revisionist history that all too often clouds the discussion of communism. The sheer complexity of the revolution and the very real toll it took on the founders of the revolutionist state during a time of war shed light on why the Soviet Union came to be such a brutal society. It also begins to expose why through human nature, greed, and incompetence, true socialism and communism will likely never thrive or be given another chance to even exist in the foreseeable future (and for good reason). A must read for anyone serious about understanding what lies to the East of most travelers destinations.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short History of Communist Russia, December 27, 2008
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This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
The author focuses mainly on Russia with few references to other countries in the Soviet Bloc. Tracing the rise of the USSR from the 1917 Revolution to about 1990, the book outlines the experiences of ordinary Russian citizens. Forced deportations, disasters of collective farming, deliberate starving of peasants, purges within the Communist Party, World War II, and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is an honest look at life in Communist Russia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the history of the USSR, December 19, 2013
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This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
The author does an amazing job writing about the history of the Soviet Union in this book. It is written in an easy to understand language, well researched and very informative. You will have a deeper understanding of Russian culture and customs. It also contains a great deal of information on the former Soviet Republics. The only downfall of this book is that the last update was in 1992 so there isn't a lot of info on the new Russian Federation and what happened after the breakup of the USSR, although that could be put into a whole new book. The following are the contents of the book.

Prefaces to the Enlarged Editions
Preface to the First Edition

1-Introduction
2-The October Revolution
3-War Communism
4-The Making of the Soviet Union
5-The New Economic Policy and Its Political Dilemmas
6-Revolution from Above
7-Stalin's Terror
8-Stalinist Society
9-Religion and Nationality under the Soviet State
10-The Great Fatherland War
11-The Last Years of Stalin
12-Khrushchev and De-Stalinization
13-Soviet Society under 'Developed Socialism'
14-Religion, Nationality and Dissent
15-The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union

Chronology
Statistical Tables
Bibliography
Index

It also contains many tables with statistics and three maps of the Soviet Union and its republics. Highly recommended if you are into history of the USSR.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great source about the rise, development and collapse of the USSR, December 6, 2013
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Armand M. Inezian (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
A great source of information about the rise, development and collapse of the USSR (1921-1991).

I learned so much from reading this work and found Hosking's writing to be generally accessible, and it helps too that he doesn't write like a robot but rather like a human being. He does not shy from expressing sympathy for the victims of the USSR's million atrocities, violations, affronts, and indignities.

Hosking does a nice job of smoothly moving us from the macro level to the macro in a few sentences. For example, he might start a paragraph by discussing the general state of Jewish life in Khrushchev's Russia, then discuss the Jews of "the Pale" (far Western Russia) specifically, and then write about the Russian prosecution of synagogues, and follow all that up with one specific bit of evidence maybe- for example- by citing a letter ordering the closing of a single synagogue in Kiev.

I believe the book was written with college students in mind, but it's also very accessible- I would argue- to anyone who is interested in history.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REFECTIVE, June 29, 2009
This review is from: The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition (Paperback)
This history enables me to better understand what really precipatated the dismantling of the Soviet Union. A must read.
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The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within, Second Enlarged Edition
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