Armageddon Averted

Armageddon Averted : The Soviet Collapse 1970-2000

3.7 (409 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$19.99

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks

Description

In the Cold War era that dominated the second half of the 20th century, nobody envisaged that the collapse of the Soviet Union would come from within, still less that it would happen meekly, without global conflagration. In this compact book, Stephen Kotkin shows that the Soviet collapse resulted not from military competition but, ironically, from the dynamism of Communist ideology, the long-held dream for "socialism with a human face". The neo-liberal reforms in post-Soviet Russia never took place, nor could they have, given the Soviet-era inheritance in the social, political and economic landscape. Kotkin takes us deep into post-Stalin Soviet society and institutions, into the everyday hopes and secret political intrigues that affected 285 million people, before and after 1991. He conveys the high drama of a superpower falling apart while armed to the teeth with millions of loyal troops and tens of thousands of weapons of mass destruction. "Armageddon Averted" vividly demonstrates the overriding importance of history, individual ambition, geopolitics and institutions, and deftly draws out contemporary Russia's contradictory predicament.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 290 pages
  • 134.62 x 185.42 x 20.32mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4 maps, 23 halftones
  • 0195168941
  • 9780195168945
  • 1,729,417

Review quote

"Our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame." "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor. "--The New Yorker"This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly"Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, The Washington Post Book World"Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, The New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor. "--The New Yorker "This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly "Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, The Washington Post Book World "Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, The New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor. "--The New Yorker "This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly "Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, The Washington Post Book World "Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, The New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world inall its corrupt splendor. "--The New Yorker"This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering theself-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialistreform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly"Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, The Washington Post Book World"Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, The New York Review of Booksshow more

About Stephen Kotkin

Stephen Kotkin is Director of Russian Studies at Princeton University has written an acclaimed two-volume case study on the rise and fall of Soviet socialism: Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization and Steeltown, USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era.show more

Rating details

409 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 17% (70)
4 44% (179)
3 33% (136)
2 4% (16)
1 2% (8)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X