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on 29 January 2006
For those seeking an overview of 20th century Russian history it doesn't really get much better than this. However, the sheer scale of events that took place in Russia during this time means that there is an inevitable lack of detail in this one volume history. That said, it is an entertaining and educational read. The chapters concerning the Russian Revolution and the break-up of the USSR are particularly well presented and enjoyable. The latter is of obvoius relevance to anyone wishing to understand 21st century Russia.
"A History of Modern Russia" doesn't have quite the same page-turning excitement as, for example, Simon Sebag Montefiore's recent Stalin biography, but as a beginner's guide to this fascinating period of history it can hardly be bettered. Highly recommended.
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on 16 July 2006
As a previous reviewer commented, a number of major event, not least the October Revolution, are skimmed over by the author, while seemingly undue importance is given to more minor events. However, I believe Service's intention was for this book to be a preparatory exercise for further reading - the over-throwing of the Tsar, the battle of Stalingrad and the fall of the Berlin Wall are covered in detail elsewhere. A History of Russia gives a great background to a tumultuous twentieth century in the county and sets events in context for further reading. Service is unbiased, backs up his interesting observations and, although sometimes dry, paints a coherent picture of times of momentous change. He is better on the earlier years than more recent ones, but this is a great introduction to the state of Russia today.
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on 16 April 2000
Service has produced a valuable one volume history of Twentieth Centuruy Russsia. He has admirably resisted the temptation to focus too heavily upon the eras of Lenin and Stalin. His account of the Brezhenev and Gorbachev years is particuarly valuable, although he presents a somewhat laudatory account of Gorbachevs reforms. Nethertheless this work will be very useful as a more advanced introduction to Soviet history and has a lot to offer to those already familiar with Russia's recent past. Servics' synthesis of economic, cultural and social history while still communicating the political narrative was particuarly impressive. There is however perhaps a case to suggesy that personality as a factor could have been given a more overt consideration, particuarly in the case of earlier Russian leaders. An examination of the essential problems of Russian history in more detail format than the seven page conclusion is perhaps desirable. Russian history appears to be dominated by a number of recurrent issues, such as its geographical size and features,the nationality problem and Russia's relationship with a more developed West. A consideration of these factors such as in the opening and concluding chapres of Dominic Lieven's "Nicholas II Emperor of all the Russias," would greatly enhance drawing together the multiple strands of Russian experience throughout the twentieth century. Those relatively new to Russian history, and those interested in the collapse of Communism will find this work enlightening and invaluable. Those whoever are concereed with the Collapse of Tsarism or the genesis of the Soviet system may well find more perceptive accounts elsewhere.
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on 4 September 2014
these stories were sick blue
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on 3 March 2006
A strange book, it almost dismisses the February Revolution and the abdication of the Tsar in a few lines, but it goes into details on events in the late 80's/early 90's. A good overview of Russian history but missed out on what I was looking for in a book on russia.
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on 18 December 2014
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on 15 October 2015
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on 23 March 2013
This item arrived quickly and efficiently. Bought this book as I was studying the history of Russia and found this book very interesting and helpful
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