The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath

The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath

The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath

The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath

Excerpt

When the first edition of The Soviet Colossus was completed in 1984, the USSR stood imposingly as a troubled but immensely powerful and seemingly durable military superpower. By the time the second edition of the book appeared in early 1990, the USSR, after five years of perestroika and democratic reforms, had undergone change beyond what anybody had expected a few years earlier. However, while badly shaken by the pace and extent of change, the country itself still seemed likely to survive, even if in a drastically altered form.

The third edition of The Soviet Colossus appeared as a witness to the shocking collapse of the Soviet Union, which at one time and all at once was the flagship of international Communism, the world's largest empire, one of the planet's two nuclear superpowers, history's first and mightiest totalitarian state, and a huge and complex society whose social system was based on an ideology that at the peak of its influence governed the lives of one-third of the world's population and commanded the adherence of numerous intellectuals the world over. Yet this colossus ultimately crumbled within a few short years and meekly ended up being proclaimed out of existence. Just how and why all this occurred will provide years of work to legions of expert analysts who failed to predict this development in the first place.

The fourth edition of this book, now titled The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath, continues the methodology of the earlier editions, which focused first on the historical background that shaped Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution, and then on pivotal turning points that led in turn to the establishment of the Bolshevik dictatorship, the development of Stalinist totalitarianism, the reforms and counterreforms under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, the dramatic changes that swept the country under Mikhail Gorbachev . . .

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