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Armageddon Averted
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Table of Contents

Preface to the second paperback edition Note on the text List of plates List of maps Introduction 1: History's cruel tricks 2: Reviving the dream 3: The drama of reform 4: Waiting for the end of the world 5: Survival and cannibalism in the rust belt 6: Democracy without liberalism? 7: Idealism and treason Epilogue Notes Further reading Index

About the Author

Stephen Kotkin is Professor of European and Asian History at Princeton University, where he also directs the Russian-Eurasian Studies Program. He is the author of nine books, including an acclaimed two-volume study of the rise and fall of Soviet socialism: Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization and Steeltown, USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era.

Reviews

The director of Russian studies at Princeton and a published scholar in the field of Soviet studies, Kotkin has written a lively and provocative work on a subject that has already attracted much scholarly attention. His central question is, however, his own: why didn't Soviet elites defend their Union, using their vast military arsenal to bring about a cataclysmic super-Yugoslavia in the dying USSR? How could such a massive police state have died so quietly? He points in response to those same elites who, for over 30 years, constituted themselves as vast "loot chains," preferring to plunder their country of its wealth than risk losing everything in large-scale war. Through the medium of the Union republics, local elites led the charge for their own aggrandizement, thus "cashier[ing] the Union." As he delivers telling jabs, Kotkin spares no one neither Soviet politician-gangsters nor arrogant U.S. administrators and academics. This is a much more readable and lively monograph on the Soviet collapse than others, such as Michael McFaul's Russia's Unfinished Revolution (Cornell Univ., 2001), which has a more purely academic appeal. Kotkin's book should attract both the academic and the informed general reader. Robert Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ont. The director of Russian studies at Princeton and a published scholar in the field of Soviet studies, Kotkin has written a lively and provocative work on a subject that has already attracted much scholarly attention. His central question is, however, his own: why didn't Soviet elites defend their Union, using their vast military arsenal to bring about a cataclysmic super-Yugoslavia in the dying U.S.S.R.? How could such a massive police state have died so quietly? He points in response to those same elites who, for over 30 years, constituted themselves as vast "loot chains," preferring to plunder their country of its wealth than risk losing everything in large-scale war. Through the medium of the Union republics, local elites led the charge for their own aggrandizement, thus "cashier[ing] the Union." As he delivers telling jabs, Kotkin spares no one neither Soviet politician-gangsters nor arrogant U.S. administrators and academics. This is a much more readable and lively monograph on the Soviet collapse than others, such as Michael McFaul's Russia's Unfinished Revolution (Cornell Univ., 2001), which has a more purely academic appeal. Kotkin's book should attract both the academic and the informed general reader. Robert Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ont. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape."--The New Yorker "A triumph of the art of contemporary history. In fewer than 200 pages, Kotkin elucidates the implosion of the Soviet empire--the most important and startling series of international events of the past fifty years--and clearly spells out why, thanks almost entirely to the 'principal restraint' of the Soviet leadership, that collapse didn't result in a cataclysmic war, as all experts had long forecasted."-The Atlantic Monthly "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."--The New York Review of Books

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