Drawing on a wide range of sources, including eye-witness accounts, official documents, and materials that have only recently come to light, "The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union" places the Soviet experience in historical and comparative context. It provides a comprehensive overview of the Soviet Union from early comments by Marx on the possibility of Russia avoiding capitalism to the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.
This source-book features several important documents published in full for the first time, including Lenin's letter of 1922 concerning the church and materials on the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. Gorbachev's attempts to revive the system is reflected in a number of documents, while materials relating to the coup of 1991 and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States are reproduced almost in their entirety. From a survey of the emergence of Marxism-Leninism to an analysis of the tumultuous events of the last decade, this book is an invaluable reference to anyone interested in Soviet history and politics.
""When dealing with so vast a subject as the history of the Soviet Union, it is a formidable challenge indeed and Sakwa accomplishes it brilliantly.... Sakwa displays an impressive mastery of the documentary evidence of several generations of Russia's history, and his selections are informed by a dispassionate and judicious outlook on its triumphs and failures..""
-Donald Senese, "Canadian Journal of History