The story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is well known: the expansionist Communists overwhelmed a poor country as a means of reaching a warm-water port on the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen upset their plans, holding on with little more than natural fighting skills, until CIA agents came to the rescue with American arms. Humiliated in battle, the Soviets hastily retreated. It is a great story-but it never happened.In this brilliant, myth-busting account, Rodric Braithwaite, the former British ambassador to Moscow, challenges much of what we know about the Soviets in Afghanistan. He provides an inside look at this little-understood episode, using first-hand accounts and piercing analysis to show the war as it was fought and experienced by the Russians. The invasion was a defensive response to a chaotic situation in the Soviets' immediate neighbor. They intended to establish a stable, friendly government, secure the major towns, and train the police and armed forces before making a rapid exit. But the mission escalated, as did casualties. Braithwaite does not paint the occupation as a Russian triumph. To the contrary, he illustrates the searing effect of the brutal conflict on soldiers, their families, and the broader public, as returning veterans struggled to regain their footing back home. Now available in paperback, Braithwaite carries readers through these complex and momentous events, capturing those violent and tragic days as no one has done before.
A saga of love and lust, personal tensions and rivalries, antagonisms and hatreds, The Flight of the Romanovs describes the last century of the Russian imperial dynasty-a century that saw the greatest social and political upheavals in all of recorded history. Drawing upon a wealth of untapped resources from Russian, British, and American archives, including unpublished diaries of many of the principal characters and never-before-published photographs, Perry and Pleshakov render an indelible portrait of a family and their time, from the youth of Alexander III in the 1860s to the death, one hundred years later, of his daughter Olga Alexandrovna, the last Grand Duchess.Set against the backdrop of this most cataclysmic century, The Flight of the Romanovs is a must-read for anyone interested in this fascinating dynasty, Russian history, and the history of European royalty.
Here, with critical notes and context, are V.I. Lenin's Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism and Nikolai Bukharin's Imperialism and World Economy. They are both essential for understanding the nature of imperialism and war historically--and today.
V.I. Lenin (1870-1924) was a leader of the Russian Revolution and wrote extensively on the issues facing the working-class movement of his time.
Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938) was a Bolshevik leader and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician until his execution at the hands of Stalin's government.
Phil Gasper is a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame de Namur University in California. He writes extensively on politics and the philosophy of science and is a frequent contributor to CounterPunch. He is the author of Haymarket Books' The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document.
The definitive biography of the mercurial Soviet leader who succeeded and denounced Stalin. Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most complex and important political figures of the twentieth century. Ruler of the Soviet Union during the first decade after Stalin's death, Khrushchev left a contradictory stamp on his country and on the world. His life and career mirror the Soviet experience: revolution, civil war, famine, collectivization, industrialization, terror, world war, cold war, Stalinism, post-Stalinism. Complicit in terrible Stalinist crimes, Khrushchev nevertheless retained his humanity: his daring attempt to reform communism prepared the ground for its eventual collapse; and his awkward efforts to ease the cold war triggered its most dangerous crises.
This is the first comprehensive biography of Khrushchev and the first of any Soviet leader to reflect the full range of sources that have become available since the USSR collapsed. Combining a page-turning historical narrative with penetrating political and psychological analysis, this book brims with the life and excitement of a man whose story personified his era.
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian. After his father, a paperhanger and upholsterer, died of cholera, five-year-old Gorky was taken to live with his grandfather, a polecat-faced tyrant who would regularly beat him unconscious, and with his grandmother, a tender mountain of a woman and a wonderful storyteller, who would kneel beside their bed (with Gorky inside it pretending to be asleep) and give God her views on the day's happenings, down to the last fascinating details. She was, in fact, Gorky's closest friend and the epic heroine of a book swarming with characters and with the sensations of a curious and often frightened little boy.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The jagged peaks of the Caucasus Mountains have hosted a rich history of diverse nations, valuable trade, and incessant warfare. But today the region is best known for atrocities in Chechnya and the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.
In Let Our Fame Be Great, journalist and Russian expert Oliver Bullough explores the fascinating cultural crossroads of the Caucasus, where Europe, Asia, and the Middle East intersect. Traveling through its history, Bullough tracks down the nations dispersed by the region's last two hundred years of brutal warfare. Filled with a compelling mix of archival research and oral history, Let Our Fame Be Great recounts the tenacious survival of peoples who have been relentlessly invaded and persecuted and yet woefully overlooked.
This widely acclaimed biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader, and Russian tsar.
Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with bracing narrative verve, this feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.
Caricatured as a superhuman idol in the former Communist states, the Russian revolutionary socialist V. I. Lenin has long been reversely caricatured in the West as an authoritarian elitist. In this brilliant, carefully researched analysis, Neil Harding upends these traditional Cold War interpretations of Lenin's thought and activity. Harding shows how Lenin's flexible and continuously changing theoretical, strategic, and tactical insights were firmly grounded in the emancipatory potential for working-class revolution in Russia and around the world.
Neil Harding is an internationally renowned scholar of Soviet history.
Revolution 1989 is the first in-depth, authoritative account of a few months that changed the world.At the start of 1989, six European nations were Soviet vassal states. By year's end, they had all declared national independence and embarked on the road to democracy. How did it happen so quickly? Victor Sebestyen, who was on the scene as a reporter, draws on his firsthand knowledge of the events, on scores of interviews with witnesses and participants, and on newly uncovered archival material. He tells the story through the eyes of ordinary men and women as well as through the strategic moves of world leaders. He shows how the KGB helped bring down former allies; how the United States tried to slow the process; and why the collapse of the Iron Curtain was the catalyst for the fall of the entire Soviet empire.