Posted by
Message
Jyrdis
Auburn Fan
Member since Aug 2015
7665 posts

Soviet Union History
What are some absolute must reads on the history of the Soviet Union?


ridlejs
Auburn Fan
Member since Aug 2011
207 posts

re: Soviet Union History
I’m reading the first volume of Stalin right now by Kotkin. Not an easy read by any means but is supposed to be the premier biography on Stalin. He only uses actual source materials from the Soviet archives.

I think his Magnetic Mountain may be more of an overview of The Soviet Union.

Either way, Kotkin is very interesting. He is the leading historian on the Soviet Union and is a professor at Princeton. But rather than being an apologist for Marxism and Communism, he blasts it. He also looks and sounds just like Joe Pesci. It’s really funny to listen to someone so brilliant talk the way he does.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
10
Htowntiger90
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Dec 2018
684 posts

re: Soviet Union History
That's a tough one with so much shrouded behind the Iron Curtain for years and the unreliability of writers depending on their viewpoints.
I read a bio on Stalin: Triumph & Tragedy by Dimitry Volkogonov years back. It was a good read. Volkogonov was head of the Soviet military's psychological warfare dept. Lots of background on the roots of Soviet communism and collectivism.
I also have copies of Kruschev's memoirs (Kruschev Remembers, two volumes) that I bought cheap used and never read. Will I ever? Life may be too short for those (and the Kissinger memoirs I have). And how reliable of a narrator is Kruschev?

This post was edited on 7/12 at 8:26 am


Loubacca
LSU Fan
sittin on the dock of the bay
Member since Feb 2005
3855 posts

re: Soviet Union History
I enjoyed Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by Dave Remnick

I found this book assumes you have a decent background in the subject when presenting some of the information.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
Ace Midnight
LSU Fan
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
71360 posts

re: Soviet Union History
A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes (Warning: Almost 1000 pages and only covers 1891 to 1924)

The Russian Revolution by Sheila Fitzpatrick (A more concise volume often used as University textbook on the subject, basically runs from right at the Revolution through the rise of Hitler)

Martin McCauley's Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union is a good summary of the entire period under 1 cover.



Replies (0)
Replies (0)
20
LuckyTiger
Minnesota Fan
Someone's Alter
Member since Dec 2008
15451 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

And how reliable of a narrator is Kruschev?

I find these experiences interesting as they offer a direct insight into the person’s point of view.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
beachdude
LSU Fan
LA
Member since Nov 2008
3153 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Most history of the USSR is made up. Short story: a bloodthirsty dictatorship run by psychopaths who changed history on a whim knowing their cowed, demoralized, frightened “citizens” could do NOTHING up and until the fourth generation.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
31
tigahbruh
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Jun 2014
1049 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Image: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/512-TwZIjvL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Great book, written by a Russian scholar. Looks at policy from the perspective of each premier, from Stalin to Gorbachev. Also through a lens of of the ideological contradiction of a government claiming to support "The revolution" while simultaneously enacting extreme authoritarian acts and seeking an imperialist practical foreign policy.
One of the things I found interesting was how erratic Khrushchev was...and apparently usually drunk.
Another was his take on Brezhnev...actually somewhat positive.
One of the more surprising things was the negative view he takes of Gorbachev. Although less surprising when you think of it. Gorbachev oversaw the collapse of Soviet society and the rapid decline of Russia's international status.

Good read. From an interesting perspective.


fightin tigers
Downtown Prairieville
Member since Mar 2008
48226 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

Soviet Union History


And then, things got worse.


Tigris
Montana Fan
Fernando Poo
Member since Jul 2005
10003 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

One of the things I found interesting was how erratic Khrushchev was...and apparently usually drunk.


Thanks for the recommendation, book ordered.

I just finished Berlin 1961 which is good. It looks at the interaction between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Kennedy had a lot to learn. Khrushchev came off as pretty interesting, a bit of a loose canon more concerned about hanging on to power and improving life in the Soviet Union than anything else. He was far less into communist revolution than the rest of the communist block, especially the Chinese. Not the tyrant that Stalin was. His autobiography is something I want to read some day.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
tigger1
Member since Mar 2005
2926 posts
 Online 

re: Soviet Union History
Any real history of the Soviet Union will have at it's core Joseph Stalin.

Stalin made the country into the power it became, but at it's roots even dating back to 1880's corruption would play a major role through out it's history.


Once Stalin grains undisputed power it set in motions a domino on the brink of super power, but corrupt to the core; it would only take one event to make that domino fall and that event turned out to be Chernobyl.

Stalin is the best place to start a history of the Union.



bamagreycoat
Alabama Fan
Member since Oct 2012
5729 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Simon Sebag Montefiore wrote two books that are outstanding.
“Stalin, The Court Of The Red Czar” and
“Young Stalin”
Both of those books are great and Montefiore spent over a decade doing research. He comes from and old Anglo-Jewish family of wealthy bankers. You’ll enjoy both books I’m sure.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
Tigris
Montana Fan
Fernando Poo
Member since Jul 2005
10003 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

it would only take one event to make that domino fall and that event turned out to be Chernobyl.


I'm just finishing up A Failed Empire and an argument could be made that the first domino was the invasion of Afghanistan. Add in low oil prices and Gorbachev taking power with his reforms. Chernobyl certainly had a huge impact on Gorbachev's thinking about the hopeless situation of nuclear war.


Stealth Matrix
UNO Fan
Member since Aug 2019
349 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

And then, things got worse.

Ha ha you funny. Go to Gulag last.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
Tau Neutrino
Tennessee Fan
Franklin, Tennessee
Member since Aug 2019
734 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Gulag by Anne Applebaum is a good read if you want to learn more about the brutality of the Soviet prison system. I read it several years ago in college.


Mr Personality
Cal State Fullerton Fan
Deep in ya throat
Member since Mar 2014
20313 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Khrushchev’s memoirs were translated by his son Sergei who is not a puppet but of course not totally objective on his father


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
Mr Personality
Cal State Fullerton Fan
Deep in ya throat
Member since Mar 2014
20313 posts

re: Soviet Union History
quote:

One of the things I found interesting was how erratic Khrushchev was...and apparently usually drunk.


Khrushchev had a 4th grade education. Stalin got everyone drunk to spill secrets. Nikita just happened to be the guy they usually made dance and laugh at.


TheTideMustRoll
Alabama Fan
Birmingham, AL
Member since Dec 2009
4044 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Glasnost ended the USSR. Once the average Soviet citizen came to realize just how far behind the West his country really was, the end was in sight.


S
Texas Southern Fan
RIP Wayde
Member since Jan 2007
107733 posts
 Online 

re: Soviet Union History
Cska gfy


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
00
Mr Personality
Cal State Fullerton Fan
Deep in ya throat
Member since Mar 2014
20313 posts

re: Soviet Union History
Glasnost was still very limited. Ultimately a shitty economy killed the USSR.


Replies (0)
Replies (0)
20
first pageprev pagePage 1 of 2next pagelast page

Back to top

logoFollow TigerDroppings for LSU Football News
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates on LSU Football and Recruiting.

FacebookTwitterInstagram