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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Revealed, December 31, 2004
This review is from: Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Hardcover)
Considering that, from its inception, the entire beleaguered history of the USSR was either misinterpreted or disinterpreted by that socialist nation's dedicated transnational class enemies with a vested interest in defeating any real challenge to their economic hegemony, it is not surprising that the destruction of the Soviet Union would be likewise depicted.

However, amid the existing body of published literature purporting to explain the end of the USSR, Roger Keeran's and Thomas Kenny's Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union stands out as a sincere and succinct addition (the only other notable worthwhile work on the subject currently available being Bahman Azad's Heroic Struggle, Bitter Defeat), analyzing concretely the outstanding factors actually leading to the collapse as opposed to what professional anti-communists would like to believe (or want the unsuspecting public to believe) caused it, critiquing several false or flawed theories in the process and proposing a theory of their own -- viz., that a "second" (or "black-market" capitalist) economy, operating alongside the "first" (or socialist) one, is what ultimately led to the Soviet demise. However, an illicit "second economy" alone cannot explain the downfall of the USSR nor why this parallel capitalist economy not only remained for so long but even metastasized inside a socialist state. Clearly, the foundations of socialism in the USSR were not as strong as many observers had believed. And the unresolved social contradictions that were manipulated into a crisis situation, combined with other internal as well as external factors, eventually caused the Soviet Union to come undone. Moreover, one of the most serious indictments of Soviet society from a proletarian standpoint (but one not mentioned in this volume or any other that I am aware of) is that it failed to produce a generation of cadre sufficient in numbers and revolutionary zeal to carry on the construction of socialism and communism, notwithstanding the loss of many of the most resolute Bolsheviks in the civil war against assorted imperialist-abetted counter-revolutionaries following the October Revolution and later in the war against fascism.

But Keeran and Kenny are to be commended for throwing much light on a complex subject made complicated for political reasons, and for making their work accessible and useful to a mass readership, and not only an academic one, to determine how the lessons of the Soviet experiment apply to the present situation and our tasks ahead fighting for social equality and real peace.
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