This book is the result of my life-long involvement in studying and discussing the problems of Soviet agriculture and agricultural sciences. It has taken many years to write. The initial outline was far more optimistic than this final product, a result of extensive research and analysis.
As a biologist and geneticist who had participated in the controversy in Soviet genetics and agronomy since 1946, I believed that the main difficulties in agriculture arose during the decades in which the pseudoscientific ideas of T. D. Lysenko dominated Soviet biology, and other agricultural geneticists and selectionists were purged. I did not challenge the main dogmas of Soviet history, which maintain, first, that the October 1917 decree which nationalized land was a progressive measure taken on behalf of the peasants and, second, that the collectivization of agriculture was essential—except I thought collectivization would have brought more benefits if it had been done more gradually and without excesses. I expected that my book would concentrate on the problems of agricultural science, and that I would describe how . . .