Chris Ward provides a well structured, useful text book that should be welcome to teachers of modern Russian history. His book sets an example of historical writing that currently seems especially serviceable to the field of Stalinism studies. Ward neither presents nor analyzes entirely new data. Nor does he develop a truly novel interpretation of Stalinism. His study essentially constitutes a long review essay on the literature on Stalinism, and an extensive general introduction to the field. This determines his structuring of the book. The chapters do not follow an exclusively chronological line, but refer to the issues of contention and various sub debates in Soviet studies. After an outline, in the introduction, of the changes in the source base of Stalinism studies in pre- and post glasnost Russia, the chapters discuss: - various explanations of the rise of Stalin, 1917 29 (ch. 1); - conflicting assessments of the industrialization campaign,1924 41 (ch. 2); - contending accounts of the reasons for and results of the collectivization drive, 1927 41 (ch. 3); - diverging views on the origins and nature of the purges, 1928 41 (ch. 4); - different evaluations of the sources, successes and failures of Stalinist foreign policy, 1922 41 (ch. 5); - opposing appraisals of the war period and late Stalinism, 1941 53 (ch. 6); and - competing interpretations of the role of, and changes in, Soviet culture and society during Stalin's rule, 1928 53 (ch. 7). The conclusion "History and Stalin's Russia" juxtaposes the consequences of different historiographical approaches for understanding the Stalinist period. It finally gives an outlook where future research into Stalinism may and should go. The chapters are uniformly structured into sections called "Narrative," "Interpretations," "Evaluations" and "Suggestions for further reading". The first section links the crucial dates, events, names and numbers; the following two discuss diverging conceptualizations and explanations of the data. The section "Interpretations" reconstructs the respective debate in the - primarily academic English-language - literature. In "Evaluations," Ward criticizes the various approaches and presents his own - sometimes reconciling, sometimes partisan - solutions. In "Suggestion for further reading," Ward lists selected, important books and articles, and summarizes their content or locates them within the debates. The book is thus as much devoted to the historiography of Stalinism as to the phenomenon itself. It is a guide book to the literature, as much as a textbook, on Stalinism.
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I purchased this book whilst completing my degree in history, as recommended by the lecturers for a module on Stalin, i must admit i found this book to be very insightful, compact and great quality. This book was also in great condition, it looked like new, inspite of being listed as 'nearly new some damage'
very happy with the purchase and i still read the book now, even a year after i have graduated.
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