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The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire Paperback – October 5, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Many historians of the postwar period regard the 1983 American invasion of Grenada, a poor Caribbean island with a feckless Marxist government, as a misguided historical sideshow. English prime minister Margaret Thatcher did, too, remarking, "if you are going to pronounce a new law that whenever communism reigns against the will of the people ... the United States shall enter, then we are going to have really terrible wars in the world."

London-based historian and strategist Brian Crozier begs to differ. The invasion of Grenada marked the first time since the Russian Revolution of 1917, he writes, that "a Communist government in a sovereign state had been removed by an outside power's military force." Given the bloody effects of Communist rule around the world, Crozier suggests that outside intervention was not at all a bad thing, and he charts the growth of the Soviet state with apparent regret that someone did not put an end to it long before 1991, when the USSR disintegrated in the wake of an attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev.

Some readers may take issue with Crozier's right-of-center analysis and his support for such regimes as the dictatorship of the Chilean general Augusto Pinochet, but they will not easily fault his careful scholarship, supported by hundreds of pages of documents from Soviet archives, as he relates the tangled history of the Marxist-Leninist experiment. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Crozier, who has written scores of books on communism since the 1950s (his latest being The Gorbachev Phenomenon: "Peace" and the Secret War), cut his teeth by working the real world of news gathering and serving for various European think tanks; currently, he is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Here he presents a comprehensive view of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union in a no-nonsense, hard-hitting style. Throughout, Crozier quotes extensively from primary sources, revealing a thorough knowledge of the literature. As a nonacademic, he adds his personality and offers opinions on events with which he is familiar. Each chapter is short and crisp, covering all of the Soviet republics and the process of their "satellization." This book provides an interesting contrast to recent, more academic books on the subject, including Roger Reese's The Soviet Military Experience: A History of the Soviet Army 1917-1991 (LJ 11/1/99), which offers a different assessment of the impact of Stalin's late-1930s purges of the military. Recommended for public libraries.
-Harry V. Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Sys., Iola
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Prima Lifestyles (October 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761525556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761525554
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The focus of the book is on the imperial aims & actions of the Soviet Union, which is indeed a very large topic! Fortunately the book moves extremely quickly, taking the reader from Lenin's revolution to the end of the empire. This author has written detailed books about much of what he writes here, and doesn't feel compelled to "show off" with trivial details. He is detailed enough, however, to give a firm understanding of the events in question. As far as bias goes, I think everyone from (unaffiliated) Marxists, Maoists & Trotskyites (excluding Stalinists) to the moderate Right would not argue with the essence of Crozier's account of the Soviet domination of other nations, using Marxism as a convenient (and all too accepted) cover. If you aren't in denial of this fact, and want to know the details of the issue, you will be delighted by this book! It is clearly a lifetime achievement from an outstanding historian.
Another reviewer compared this book unfavorably to Shirer's similarly titled (and also excellent) book on the Third Reich. Having read both, I can say that Crozier manages to remain a little more detached than Shirer did, and did a far better job at telling the important story (including the essential facts) while avoiding the digressions Shirer was prone to. Still, for their relative subject matters, each is certainly unmatched in my opinion. Additionally, I don't know that either was out of line for occasionally expressing disgust when recounting the horrific deeds committed by the respective totalitarian regimes. Crozier does do much less of this, however, probably because the subject at hand is the expansion (and fall) of the empire, not the history of the Soviet Union per se.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By R. Setliff on December 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
~The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire~ by Brian Crozier is a solid history of the Soviet empire. Crozier gives a good backdrop to the embryonic beginnings of the empire as it takes up the mantle of Russian nation. He rightly recognizes and soundly documents the Soviet Union's concerted effort to broaden its influence and power on the world scene since its impetus. The COMINTERN was aggressive to spread communism throughout the world, and particularly focused on Spain and Italy in the early twentieth century. The totalist rivalries between communism and fascism are written with remarkable clarity. Following World War II, FDR naively sold eastern Europe into communist slavery and Stalin quickly inaugurated satellization. The resistance to communist rule in Hungary and Czechoslovakia are well documented.

Crozier does not fall into the fallacies of leftist revisionists who would be guilty of excluding events and obfuscating truth. The Soviet Union actively sponsored terrorism, and used covert violence in furtherance of its political agenda to undermine the West. Some terrorists were not orthodox Marxist-Leninists, but received ample support nonetheless, such as the Irish Republican Army in Ulster, Argentina's Montoneros. The Soviets even maintained a terrorist training school dubbed the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University to train terrorists and foment revolution in the Third World. The infamous Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, a Venezuelan born son of a Marxist lawyer was one of their products. The Jackal spread a wave of terror throughout Europe. He was culpable for bombings in Paris, numerous murders, assassinations and the kidnapping of OPEC ministers in Vienna. This stark reality is something Marxist apologists ignore.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Crozier paints quite a dismal portrait of the collectivist powers that squashed all forms of dissent and pushed forward their grandiose vision for the world. This book lays out in plain view for the world to see-the anti-Communists were right. Marxists were fomenting revolution, terror, war, and all sorts of inhumane practices all through their lifespan and through their satellites and allies. Comrades and fellow travellers at home, similarly, were not the humanitarians they pride themselves on claiming to be (the right of the self-anointed, more like); instead, they were vicious thugs with no minds of their own, instead following orders barked at them by their leaders in Moscow, despite knowledge of Communism's crimes against humanity, peace, and culture; indeed, they turned their back on all this because it is the Marxist nature.
In that sense probably the best indication of this book's compelling style and content, which is backed by nigh-irrefutable evidence such as documents from the archives of Communist regimes, is that of the response it engenders from the far leftist crowd. You see, Marxism is in a most twisted sense the "intellectual" religion of modern times. People who surrender to it abandon all earthly rationality and participation in logical discourse. Instead, everything in life is placed into two categories: progressive and reactionary. "If you are not with us, you are against us." How odd, then, that these self-described nihilists should bemoan such a philosophy on the part of the free-marketers and the true democrats. This is why their best prepared and unified defense against this book is to point out that it is written by a right-winger, and that this somehow makes the book unobjective.
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