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Summary

A major study of the collapse of the Soviet Union - showing how Gorbachev's misguided reforms led to its demise

In 1945, the Soviet Union controlled half of Europe and was a founding member of the United Nations. By 1991, it had an army four million strong, 5,000 nuclear-tipped missiles, and was the second biggest producer of oil in the world. But soon afterward, the union sank into an economic crisis and was torn apart by nationalist separatism. Its collapse was one of the seismic shifts of the 20th century.

Thirty years on, Vladislav Zubok offers a major reinterpretation of the final years of the USSR, refuting the notion that the breakup of the Soviet order was inevitable. Instead, Zubok reveals how Gorbachev's misguided reforms, intended to modernize and democratize the Soviet Union, deprived the government of resources and empowered separatism. Collapse sheds new light on Russian democratic populism, the Baltic struggle for independence, the crisis of Soviet finances - and the fragility of authoritarian state power.

©2021 Vladislav M. Zubok (P)2021 Tantor

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  • 30-12-21

Throughly Fantastic History

This is, as far as I know, the first full length history from a respected historian on the collapse of the Soviet Union. The author is clear, concise, and very revealing on a critical but as of yet relatively understudied period of world historical importance. The narrator is also very good, much more so than I was expecting. Overall I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Russian, Cold War, or Soviet history.

2 people found this helpful