A History of the Soviet Union 1945-1991

A History of the Soviet Union 1945-1991 : Last of the Empires

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Described as 'one of the most tragic human experiences in human history', the Soviet Union as an empire holds much intrigue and fascination for the Western world. It held unquestionable status as an empire, with its coverage of over 100 nationalities. Its status as the 'Last of the Empires' depends on what the future may hold, but any future 'empires' will undoubtedly be based on intellectual and institutional foundations far different from those developed during the Soviet era. Here John Keep presents the narrative history of the USSR, from the last years of Stalin, to the checkered fate of Gorbachev's reform policies, and the ultimate collapse of the empire under manifold centrifugal pressures. Focusing upon political, economic, social, and cultural developments, the book is divided into four parts: the last years of Stalin; Nikita Krushchev's abortive attempts to reform Communist rule; the years 1964-1985, covered largely by Breshnev's long tenure of power; and lastly Gorbachev's abortive attempts to promote a reformed, 'democratic', communism.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 498 pages
  • 134.62 x 193.04 x 27.94mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3 maps
  • 0192803190
  • 9780192803191
  • 891,924

About John L. H. Keep

John Keep has studied and lectured in Russian History for many years. He was a research assistant with the Foreign Office from 1953 to 1954, a lecturer in Modern Russian History at the University of London between 1954 and 1966, and Reader in Russian Studies there from 1966 to 1970. In 1964 he became a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and he was Professor of Russian History at the University of Toronto between 1970 and 1988. He has now retired.show more

Review quote

Last of the Empires is filled with interest information gathered from a very broad range of sources which Keep recounts and analyses in a thoroughly professional manner ... judicious and well-informed work. * Times Literary Supplement * It is as fortunate as it is productive that Keep is a distinguished and vastly experienced historian of Russia in its several phases, that he should apply the rigour of exacting scholarship and the advantage of perspective to the death of a system whose antecedents and birth he had earlier chronicled. The temperate, scholarly analysis of Last of the Empires provides an exhaustive explanation for this complex, protracted tragedy whose consequences are yet fully to unfold. * Times Higher Education Supplement * A shrewd, well-sourced history of the Soviet Union ... [Keep's] fluent narrative heeds murmurs from below as well as diktats from above. * New Statesman & Society * Review from previous edition Written in a clear, scholarly but penetrable style, it provides an abundance of information in a form that is accessible to anybody who wants or needs to remind himself of the chronology and content of those tumultuous years in the Soviet Union. It incorporates much of the new information that is emerging in post-communist, post-Soviet Russia, as formerly top-secret archives are opened to Russian and western scrutiny. * Economist *show more

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10 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 10% (1)
4 60% (6)
3 30% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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