Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union Hardcover – May 14, 1996
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
The collapse of the Soviet Union figures among the important events of the latter half of the century. David Satter, a reporter in Moscow for the Financial Times of London from 1976 to 1982, recorded with great detail the failings of the Soviet Union during the time and has cast those failings into a telling postmortem on the Communist state. The bulk of his material comes in the form of vignettes from people who suffered through the iron rule and the oppression and bleakness it fostered. Their stories provide personal insights as to why the empire collapsed.
From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on two decades of reporting from the Soviet Union for the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times of London, Satter's riveting montage takes us inside KGB interrogation cells, factories sabotaged by theft, collective farms awash in vodka, labor camps where a prisoner's slightest protest brings slow starvation in an isolation cell, psychiatric hospitals stuffed with political dissenters who are force-fed psychoactive drugs and tortured. By jump-cutting between historic events-the abortive 1991 coup against Gorbachev; the breakaway by the Baltic republics and Ukraine; the coal miners' strike of 1989-1990; the storming of the Russian parliament by Yeltsin's troops in 1993, which left 150 dead-and the struggles of ordinary Soviet citizens to survive in a society built on official lies and illusions, Satter provides an astonishingly intimate look at the unraveling of the Soviet system on a personal as well as a political level. We meet daring illegal border-crossers, refuseniks who won't rat on Anatoly Shcharansky for the KGB, fanatic right-wing nationalists and whistle-blowers with grievances against their workers' collectives who are thwarted by a kafkaesque maze of Moscow agencies that sidetrack their complaints. Satter also chronicles Russia's religious revival and the alarming rise of extremist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In fact, the first chapter "The Coup" is about the soviet coup of 1991.The best chapter of this book is the number six "The Economy".The description of a soviet colletive farm makes me remeber, the also calamitous collective farms of MST,here in Brazil.
About Ukraine, there's desciption of apparition of Virgin Mary.
Among the best parts of this book:
a)Page 151:"Recently, there was a program on Soviet television called 'Rural America' that showed conditions on American farms.We saw veterinarians riding out in medical vans to give injections to pigs with disposable syringes.In Novokuznetsk, we don't even have disposable syringes for human beings".
b)Page 188:"To support their private plots, farmers engaged in constant stealing.Adults stole, as did their children.It was possible to stand in a collective farmer's house surrounded by wire, hammer, nails, wheels, machine oil, and lumber, only to realize that not a single item had been purchased."
c)Page 265:"The other pole of unseen world was the psychiatric hospitals where political prisoners were destroied with the help ofdrugs.The most commonly employed drugs were the halopelidol, wich turned off part of the brain; aminazine, wich reduced the victim to a half-stupor; majeptil, wich led to acute psychological distress; and sulfazine, wich , injected intramuscularly, usually in the buttocks, caused a sharp rise in body temperature and excruciating pain."
d)Page 335:"During my first years in the Soviet Union, I often wondered why atheistic communism triumphed in Russia, which was onceregarded as perhaps the most religious country in Europe.But the longer I lived there, the more I became convinced that it was not an irony, but a historical inevitability that a people who had long ceased to value the moral judgment of the individual , would one day throw off its mental bondage to a messianic religion in favor of a messianic ideology."
e)Page 371:"BY THE FALL OF 1990, the power of Communist establishment in Ukraine appeared to be crumbling under the twin blows of glasnost and a worsening economic crisis.On september 14, Lvov became the sixteenth city in Western Ukraine to take down a monument of Lenin,, and throughout the republic, food disappeared from the stores and the lines for gas were half a mile long."
About the Fall of Soviet Union, the book is good, but Michael Dobbs' book is a better choice than this book.
Anyway, I was expecting more of a history of the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, as is written on the title. But this isn't a history book; it's more of a story book. David Satter is not a historian, he's a journalist. I think with this book, he is attempting to convey, through individual stories, the effects of 80 years of Soviet, bureaucratic nonsense on the mentality on individual human beings. I'm just saying, he should probably have titled the book "Stories of Despair from the Soviet Union". It is a great read and interesting, but the title is a bit misleading. And to be fair...I am not a communist and agree the USSR was a terrible, failed state, but some of the stories and descriptions are a bit too unbelievable and obviously biased. In Satter's USSR, every one was drunk all day, every worker at every factory was a drunk and nothing was accomplished. Every item produced was inferior and useless, etc. The book itself is a piece of propaganda, ignoring the fact the USSR had a successful space program, for example.
It's a bit hard to imagine the Soviets making missiles, nuclear bombs, putting a man in space, etc in Satter's USSR, since everyone was drunk and no one did anything. It is also hard to imagine how anyone had anything to eat for 75 years, since the farmers didn't know how to farm. Yes, capitalism is a better system, I agree. But the author is such a biased basher of communism, the book reads like anti-soviet propaganda targeted towards high-school kids. I'm not saying it isn't a good read, but read it with an open mind and, what do they say...take it with a grain of salt.
I also had a bit of an issue with the anti-atheist nonsense, as in the USSR was a horrible place because they didn't have religion. Well, most of Scandanavia, And also Germany are heavily Atheist, and they seem to be happy, functioning countries...lol. Again, his own personal biases are showing through.
One thing I also felt a bit conflicted about; the book is filled with injustices by the Soviet Union against it's citizens, and meanwhile, in the USA.....we killed off millions of Native Americans, intentionally infected them with smallpox. We had over 4 million slaves at the time of liberation. Even today we have more citizens incarcerated (mostly black) than any other country in the world (per capita). We dropped two nuclear bombs on civilian targets, and firebombed Dresden. Just saying....
Anyway, although the stories are interesting, these tale' do not constitute trustworthy history. First, lacking footnotes citing authentication, these stories lack the basic foundations of scholarship. Second, the author presents reams of conversation he couldn't possibly have heard. (Was he present when the KGB interrogated dissidents?)
Mr. Satter is (was) actually more interested in Communism, not presenting an unbiased, scholarly book.
Most recent customer reviews
the Great Russian Plain
This Anglosenryu (Anglohaiku) came into being after I read Mr.Read more