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on 23 August 2017
The Very Short Introductions are a major educational resource. There are presently over 500 small books covering a very wide range of subjects. Although short, the Introductions are substantial in content. Everyone would benefit from reading these books to broaden their knowledge and understanding in diverse areas of life. Perseverance with some subjects may be required but be prepared to be surprised, enlightened and enriched.
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on 2 November 2016
If you are looking for an overview of the policy used by Soviet leaders and a chronological overview of key events then this is not the book for you. This book for a very short introduction seems to address too much of the domestic policy in the USSR. If you are studying the USSR and it's leaders at GCSE/A level standard this is not the book for you. If you want to know the details of policy, industry and business then this is a valuable resource.
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on 3 March 2017
i was looking for a light read but just couldnt understand this book. its the second book i have bought in this series and can only conclude they are aimed at students. frustrating.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 April 2016
This book is a very brief - and selective - overview of the USSR. It's okay reading for those who are completely uninitiated with the Soviet Union. But if you already know something about the history and social affairs of the USSR, then I suspect there's no real point in reading this book.

Also, if you happen to know very little about the USSR - and require an introduction to the subject - then please remember that ideas, opinions and arguments concerning the nature and dynamics of the USSR differ. This very short book presents a particular perspective - although it fails to adequately explain this, and considers itself to be neutral. Yet it's not. So I suggest that readers quickly move on from this book and seek to expand their knowledge by looking at others sources.

Personally, I don't see much use for this book. It's just too brief, and omits so much that is important. The Soviet Union was a distinct social formation and mode of production, lasting some 70 years. It covered a third of the planet, and many millions of people lived within this system. All of this is reduced to less than 200 pages. However, I understand that students have to start somewhere - but a more thorough, less biased introduction could have been provided.

Overall, this book is mildly useful - but rather poorly written.
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There are few countries that loomed as large over the history of twentieth century as did Soviet Union, and none had done more to maintain a sustained threat to the Western countries and institutions. However, during most of its history, Soviet Union was largely a mystery for all those who wanted to know more about this vast country. This was due mostly to its own system of secrecy and disinformation, with tight control over the information that it permitted to get out to the public. Now, almost two decades after its collapse, we are finally starting to get a much more detailed and nuanced picture of this state. Thanks to this, scholars like Stephen Lovell have been able to produce very frank and detailed accounts, and this very short introduction is certainly one of the best on the subject. The chapters of this book are grouped thematically rather historically, along dichotomous topic. The author is very frank about the brutality of the Soviet regime, and almost every page mentions some of the more outrageous aspects of the Soviet life. This, however, is not the product of any anti-communist ideological bias - Lovell merely reports the facts as they are. In fact, there is hardly any mention and explanation of the communism and Lovell certainly doesn't try to make an apology for the Soviet regime along the lines that Marxism was a good theory that had been poorly implemented in practice.

No single book on such a vast subject can ever hope to do it full justice, and certainly not one that purports to be a very short introduction. However, as far as introductions go, this one is as good as they come. It will keep readers interest and provide a well-flowing narrative. It can also serve as a guide to further study on the topic, thanks to the well organized bibliography at the end.
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on 5 February 2017
Very good, concise and interesting
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on 19 December 2014
great!
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on 18 October 2014
Very good book with a concise and clear overview of the history of the Soviet Union. Highly recommended
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on 3 October 2015
Short, accurate and clear.
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on 6 July 2014
Fantastic book, written in an unusual manner. (Topics rather than time line.) It is a great book for anyone wishing to know more about the USSR but not interested into deep studies. However, the vocabs used in this book is sooooo highly registered, as a foreigner that speaks 'ok' English (as far as I believe), I have never read such a tough book.
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