A History of Twentieth-Century Russia (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 1999
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Service's History of Modern Russia covers the entire 20th century, though it is relatively sparse post-1994. His handling of the material seems fair; he strives to cover material from a variety of viewpoints, showing both the positive and negative aspects of his subject matter. He covers Lenin, Stalin, WWII, and Khrushchev - along with all their policies, political maneuvers, and so on - in depth (at least as much as can be expected for 555 pages on 100 years!), and covers the Tsarist period, WWI, Brezhnev, and the early 1980s in the USSR in sufficient detail to easily follow the plot. The mild disparity in the treatment of various events and figures is not a flaw in his work; rather, his writing is directed to the more significant developments, of which there seem to be relatively few in the period of Brezhnev and the early 1980s (pre-Gorbachev); his ~40 pages on Brezhnev supply plenty of detail into the USSR from Khrushchev to the early `80s. In fact, I have found it difficult in general to find material on Brezhnev. For example, there are many biographies of Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev, but Amazon.com does not appear to carry even one on Brezhnev!
As a newcomer to the field of Russian history, culture, and language, I found Service's work to be readable, informative, and straightforward in its presentation, even when the narrative bogs down in groups of names doing this or that. His even treatment of the Soviet Union allowed me to see aspects of the USSR, Russia, and communism which I had not previously understood in a new light. I would have appreciated a short glossary for Soviet political positions and USSR governmental positions which simply defined the duties and responsibilities of various jobs (and perhaps their relative political or governmental clout, if such a thing were possible). It is not difficult to get bogged down in the myriad offices mentioned in the book.
I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the Soviet Union's beginnings, rise to power, and eventual decline and implosion. It covers a wealth of material in a short, readable space and is easily navigable. References are extensive, so further study could easily be pursued with Service as an overview and handy starting point.
Here the reader is treated to nuanced stories, such as Krushchevs suppression of the church which left only 7500 Churches ion Russia, whereas 12000 Mosques were left standing. Also evident is the population upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s. Equally important is a very good rendition of the complications of the Civil war and the creation of War communism. All the characters are given a fair portrait from Derzinsky, to Sverlov, to the obvious, such as Zinoviev and Stalin.
The successive chapters on the `mystery years' of Brezhnev is enlightening, to view a nation in stagnation. Although not as insightful as Volkoganov's expose on soviet leadership this book brings to light many tales and is a fascinating, easy digestion, that brings the reader up to date, with Vladimir Putin.
Seth J. Frantzman
In "A History of Twentieth Century Russia" Robert Service brings a well written general history that in many ways addresses this. Service identifies the origins of the great terror in the Bolshevik regimes early years and the ascension of Stalin to power. He also identifies many of the educational, medical and other services much of the population recieved. This doesn't mean that Service ignores the genocide that occurred under the Bolsheviks. Not at all. Service, as a historian, merely attempts a general history- the good, the bad and the ugly. Service correctly attempts to show why some elements of the population where willing to put up with certain measures beyond just the terror they were exposed to.
This is a good general history, more balanced and lacking the political bent that many American scholars often approach modern Russian history with. Service shows the brutality of the regime up front and as well as the constuctive changes that took place. And, as Service shows, these changes came at a very high price.
Very readable and highly recommended.