The Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present

The Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present

The Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present

The Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present

Synopsis

Taking the achievements, ambiguities, and legacies of World War II as a point of departure, The Shadow of War: The Soviet Union and Russia, 1941 to the Present offers a fresh new approach to modern Soviet and Russian history.
  • Presents one of the only histories of the Soviet Union and Russia that begins with World War II and goes beyond the Soviet collapse through to the early twenty-first century
  • Innovative thematic arrangement and approach allows for insights that are missed in chronological histories
  • Draws on a wide range of sources and the very latest research on post-Soviet history, a rapidly developing field
  • Supported by further reading, bibliography, maps and illustrations.

Excerpt

In this final volume in the Blackwell History of Russia, Stephen Lovell brilliantly exemplifies the aims of the series as a whole. By integrating well-known information with new approaches stimulated by discoveries in previously inaccessible archives, he presents a fresh synthesis, studded with original insight. By opening his analysis in 1941 and taking it beyond the collapse of the USSR 50 years later, he adopts an unconventional chronological framework that allows familiar material to be interpreted in unfamiliar ways. And by telling the story of the emergent Russian Federation from the point of view of a contemporary historian, rather than from the perspective of the political scientists who have hitherto dominated the subject, he crosses not only a significant chronological divide, but also a disciplinary one.

As Lovell explains, one reason why historians have been slow to make the leap into recent decades has lain in a lack of the sorts of evidence on which they customarily rely. It is a striking contribution of his book to reveal how much such evidence is nevertheless now available to the researcher. Another deterrent to contemporary history has been the longstanding obsession with the inter-war years shared by many undergraduate students of “twentieth-century” Europe. It is true that the history of European integration can sometimes seem insipid by comparison with that of the Europe of the dictators. But in Russia there is no reason to think the latter part of the twentieth century uneventful. And the extraordinary developments of 1989–91 and beyond are scarcely comprehensible without an understanding of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years (the latter, it transpires, being far from the “era of stagnation” of popular myth). A further virtue of this attractively written book, therefore, is to bring to a wider readership the fruits of the growing body of scholarship – in Russian and other languages – devoted to the period between 1953 and 1991.

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