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The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States Paperback – May 12, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0195340556 ISBN-10: 0195340558 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Suny (political science, Univ. of Chicago; Looking Toward Ararat, Indiana Univ., 1993) is a highly regarded scholar of the late Soviet Union. His present work, a textbook survey of that country's "turbulent tale," charts the "traumatic and painful transformations" of Russia from decrepit tsarist autocracy to post-Soviet chaos, corruption, and uncertainty. Suny's tone is judicious, and his judgment that the Soviet experiment's great achievement of "rough modernization of a backward, agrarian society," which produced nonetheless an incompletely modernized society for the 1980s and 1990s, is well supported. He is particularly good on World War II, its cost, and its impact. Each chapter has suggestions for further readings, with a chronology of dates at the end. This is and should remain a valuable reference text.?Robert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Ronald Suny has written a splendid book, likely to become the standard history of the Soviet Union. If offers a wide-ranging, detailed, but shaply focused analytical narrative...It is a well-balanced account in every sense...In contrast to the moralizing that has passed for historical analysis in some quarters recently, Suny manages to write critically about the Soviet experiment, sparing us none of its horrors, yet registering its achievements...Throughout the writing is lucid, spiced by the telling example, quotation, or anecdote. Ultimately, however, what makes the book so impressive is its breadth of human sympathy. Undergraduates, start here!"--The Russian Review

"Interesting, comprehensive, and thought-provoking. An authoritative text on Soviet and Russian politics."--Guoli Lin, College of Charleston

"A thoroughly researched and extremely well written text. I will definitely use it in my courses. The length is perfect and it covers all subjects up to the present. Excellent."--Walter T. Brown, Ramapo College of New Jersey

"The best text available for upper-level courses in Soviet History."--Hugh Phillips, Western Kentucky University

"A comprehensive overview of the Soviet state from the point of origin to the successor states after the dissolution. Should prove an ideal one-volume introduction to Russia in the 20th century."--Dan O'Bryan, Sierra Nevada College --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (May 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195340558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340556
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
This book is very well written, and thorough.
Amanda Bell
Very thorough explanation of all aspects of the way the Soviet Union began and evolved over time.
Hal Freeman
Suny makes a very successful effort to balance narrative and analysis.
R. Albin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a good book for people just trying to get a grasp on what's going on. There are some "generalizations" as someone mentioned in an earlier review, but they are less unsubstantiated than they are just not always elaborated upon. I think it's a blessing, since Suny's other book on Soviet Essays & Documents is a lot more precise and, consequently, hard to get through. It's good information though, and especially in the Soviet Experiment his style of writing makes for an easy, fair-minded, fascinating read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a very fine survey of Soviet history from the Russian Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet state. While this is a chronologically arranged account, Suny divides Soviet history into a set of sensibly selected periods. These are the Russian Revolution and establishment of the Soviet state in the Civil War, the period of modest relaxation of state efforts at control that was the New Economic Policy (NEP), the Stalinist revolution from above and WWII, the efforts at reform after Stalin, the stagnation of the Brezhnev decades, and the final effort at reform that led to the fall of the Soviet state. Major political, social, economic, and to a lesser extent, intellectual developments are discussed for each period. Suny makes a very successful effort to balance narrative and analysis. Controversial issues are described as such and references given to appropriate further reading. The balance between sufficient detail and maintaining a good narrative flow within the limits of a moderate sized survey is excellent. Consistent themes are the discrepancies between Marxist doctrine and the social realities of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, the enormous transformation of Soviet society that took place under the leadership of the Communist party, the brutality of Stalin, and the consistent Soviet suppression of civil society and democratic impulses. The bibliography is excellent. This book is an excellent entry into the complicated literature on the Soviet Union and recommended strongly.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Harris on April 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Soviet Experiment is a snapshot of the social, cultural and polical paradigms that have helped shape this most interesting nation. From the quixotic Bolshevik Revolution to the years of terror under Joseph Stalin to the vain attempts by Borris Yeltsin to create a meaningfull democracy this book gives you all aspects of the Russian delema during the twentieth century. By looking at Russian history and seeing their struggles in industrialization one is better able to understand what an accomplishment the US has achieved during the twentieth century. Great book I would recommend it to any one
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Anne on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It offers a rather impartial view of the history of the Soviet state. It is a very nice text. The only complaint I have about the text is the lack of maps to help readers get a better visual for the Soviet Union at different times.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm personally not a fan of Suny's writing style, but this book was packed with information. The thing I disliked about this book was the pure volume of required readings I had to do out of it every night.
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This book is very well written, and thorough. It's a little heavy at times, but if you are looking for a book detailing the rise of the communist party in Russia, this is the book to get!
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When I bought the book, I was afraid of how crappy the book would have been when I bought it for so much cheaper than most sites. But it turned out to be better than expected.

Thank You
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By Duncan on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dense, of course, but therefore very concise and at times actually pretty enjoyable. Not bad compliments for such a work.
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