Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917

Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917

Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917

Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917

Synopsis

In this wide-ranging and provocative book, Stephen F. Cohen cuts through Cold War stereotypes of the Soviet Union to arrive at fresh interpretations of that country's traumatic history and its present-day political realities. Cohen's lucidly written, revisionist analysis reopens an array of major historical questions. As he probes Soviet history, society, and politics, Cohen demonstrates how this country has remained stable during its long journey from revolution to conservatism. It the process, he suggests more enlightened approaches to American/Soviet relations. Based on the author's many years of study and research, including numerous visits to the USSR, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the state of world affairs today.

Excerpt

I am offering the reader a small book about a large subject— Soviet history and politics from the Bolshevik revolution of I9I7 to the present. That seeming incongruity requires an explanation.

This book has two purposes, neither of them a full narrative history of the Soviet Union. One purpose is, to use a catch‐ word, revisionist: to reconsider large explanatory questions, which many scholars and other commentators have long considered answered and thus closed, about formative events and major outcomes in Soviet history. My approach to the subject is often critical of my own profession of Soviet studies. For reasons that I try to explain fully in the first chapter, academic Sovietology has too often based its prevailing wisdom on gray stereotypes, concepts of an immutable Soviet system, consensual political answers, and simplistic historical interpretations. My themes, on the other hand, are multicolored Soviet realities, change, the need for critical-minded questions, and the necessity for complex explanations. I am not, of course . . .

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