Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution

Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution : A Political Biography, 1888-1938

4.09 (128 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 536 pages
  • 129.54 x 200.66 x 27.94mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • plates
  • 0192850970
  • 9780192850973

Review Text

Did Bukharin, the Bolshevik's leading theoretician who nonetheless fell afoul of Stalin's machinations, offer an alternative Socialism with a more human face? Cohen (poli sci prof, Princeton) claims that he did. An intellectual intimately acquainted with non-Marxist social thought, Bukharin foresaw the advent of a new class 30 years ahead of Djilas, wished to promote intermediate associations as a defense against bureaucratic insensitivity, advocated reliance on the middle peasant (his famous "Enrich yourselves!".) and lenient treatment of the kulak, and favored a "dynamic economic equilibrium between industry and agriculture, and within the industrial sector itself." In disputing Lenin's judgment of Bukharin as a soft waxlike tablet, Cohen points out that he was an uncommitted "maverick" when abroad before the revolution, opposed the Treaty of Brest Litovsk (supporting guerrilla warfare against Imperial Germany instead), tried to be a "buffer" between Lenin and Trotsky when these two leaders disputed the role of the trade unions; his subservience during political prosecutions in fact reflected an attempt to protect his young disciples and his family and to appeal to history. Bukharin's soft line was more highly favored by the Party's rank and file than were Stalin's warfare tactics, but since Stalin had the support of the provincial hard-heads, Bukharin fell from favor following the grain crisis of 1929 although he did not lose all political influence until 1933. Cohen is perhaps a little hard on Stalin - the famine of 1932-33 was probably not "deliberately created" - and his analyses of Bukharin's writings are as slow-moving as are these Marxist polemics themselves. A well-researched study of a subject which even Kremlinologists seldom write about. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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128 ratings
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