A New, Peculiar State Explorations in Soviet History, 1917-1937 Synopsis
Using a variety of old and new archival sources to examine the emergence of the Soviet system (1917-1937), this combined approach offers chronologically coherent and original construction of some crucial stages and problems in Soviet history. The past two centuries have produced an extraordinary number of new states-more than 30 in 20th-century Europe alone. It is within this turbulent context that one must analyze the rise of the Soviet state, an entity that would prove fragile in the long run despite its all-powerful facade. An examination of the extreme features and peculiarities of the Soviet variant offers revealing insights into this exceptional historical process and contributes to a wider understanding of the European Forty Year War (1912-1953). Graziosi devotes particular attention to Soviet solutions to the peasant and nationality problems, as well as to the pre-eminent role of ideology, the rise of personal despotism, and the unusual degree of penetration between state and economy. Using a variety of interpretations, he applies concepts from political, economic, and social history to the Soviet phenomenon without losing sight of its connections with more general European developments. The life of a Bolshevik leader is used to provide an overview of the whole period from six points of view: psychology, ideology, despotism, nationality, relations with the West, and economic building. Also, an analysis of industrialization based on the accounts of foreign workers who often met a tragic fate in the great purges contributes significantly to an assessment of the role that myth building played in the Stalinist repression of the Soviet working class.
A New, Peculiar State Explorations in Soviet History, 1917-1937 Press Reviews
... an example of high caliber scholarship. It is hoped that this work will draw the attention not only of historians in the field of Ukrainian studies, but also of specialists interested in the general phenomenon of communism in the twentieth century. -Harvard Ukrainian Studies ?...an example of high caliber scholarship. It is hoped that this work will draw the attention not only of historians in the field of Ukrainian studies, but also of specialists interested in the general phenomenon of communism in the twentieth century.?-Harvard Ukrainian Studies .,. an example of high caliber scholarship. It is hoped that this work will draw the attention not only of historians in the field of Ukrainian studies, but also of specialists interested in the general phenomenon of communism in the twentieth century. -Harvard Ukrainian Studies This is a remarkably revealing and graphic account of major aspects of Soviet life in its formative period. The cases Andrea Graziosi writes about offer a look at the way things worked in the USSR that others have only been able to hint at. For those who ponder today on the way and nature of Soviet Russia's development and ultimate fate, this book will be of invaluable help. -Michael Confino Professor of Russian History Tel Aviv University Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem The hallmark of Andrea Graziosi's work in Soviet history represented here is the relentless attempt to think and rethink anew the most fundamental aspects of the subject. Through a series of specific studies he integrates state-building, the fate of workers and peasants, and nationality issues and sets them all in the widest possible European context. He forces the reader to reconsider previous beliefs about the Soviet Union and its history and to wrestle with the powerful arguments that he presents. -Paul Bushkovitch Department of History Yale University Andrea Graziosi's essays represent a remarkable combination of social, political and economic history. They aggressively tackle the big questions of early Soviet history - state-building, imperialism and decolonization, backwardness and state-led industrialization, ideology and despotism, the state's relations with workers and peasants - and consistently place these issues in a comparative European perspective. Graziosi is never dull. His bold explorations sparkle with original ideas and comparisons that will undoubtedly provoke scholarly debate and enliven the field of Soviet history. -Terry Martin Assistant Professor Modern Russia History Harvard University At the crossroad of political, economic and social history, Andrea Graziosi's essays show (enlighten?) in a new and profoundly original way the emergence and consolidation of a super-state fighting against its own society. For many years Andrea Graziosi has investigated some crucial questions, such as the roots of particularly violent state practices in the founding experiences of 1917-22, the great peasant war between the Bolsheviks and the villages, the regimes' relations with the workers. The synthetic breadth of a historical vision that never forgets to place its object of investigation in the larger European context, and the perfect mastery of both old and new sources have made of Graziosi a discoverer' and one of the most innovative historians of the USSR. Graziosi's A New Peculiar State is a new milestone in our knowledge of the first decade of the Bolshevik regime. -Nicolas Werth Institut d'histoire du temps present Paris