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Rethinking the Soviet Experience

Politics and History since 1917

Stephen F. Cohen

Publication Date - January 1986

ISBN: 9780195040166

240 pages

Retail Price to Students: $25.00


In this wide-ranging and provocative book, Stephen F. Cohen cuts through Cold War stereotypes of the Soviet Union to arrive at fresh interpretations of that country's traumatic history and its present-day political realities.
Cohen's lucidly written, revisionist analysis reopens an array of major historical questions. As he probes Soviet history, society, and politics, Cohen demonstrates how this country has remained stable during its long journey from revolution to conservatism. It the process, he suggests more enlightened approaches to American/Soviet relations. Based on the author's many years of study and research, including numerous visits to the USSR, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the state of world affairs today.


"Cohen is one of the outstanding...Sovietologists who first made their mark in the 1970s."--The New York Times Book Review

"I cannot imagine a better place to begin the search for a deeper understanding of the Soviet Union....A book that non-specialists need in this nuclear weapons age."--The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

"A stimulating and provocative reinterpretation of the broad sweep of Soviet history."--Gerald G. Govorchin, Barry University

"Cohen's efforts to 'reclaim' Soviet history have enormous contemporary relevance, and deserve the widest possible audience."--Journal of Communist Studies

"A volume that anyone seriously interested in Soviet affairs will find well worth reading."--Hedrick Smith

"This book presents to a broad audience....Cohen's influential ideas on change in the Soviet system."--American Historical Review

"[Cohen] has written a penetrating, lucid, and hard-hitting book on Soviet history and on 'Sovietologists.'"--The Slavic Review

"This fine book addresses some central issues in Western study of the Soviet experience and does so with intelligence and passion."--The Russian Review

"An unusually valuable book."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"This penetrating probe into the Soviet past offers the most illuminating analysis I know of choices and possibilities in the Soviet future."--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.,

"[Cohen's] book is a challenge to others to do some rethinking of their own."--Foreign Affairs

"An excellent book which will captivate both the specialist and non-specialist reader."--Development and Change

"This stimulating volume demonstrates once again that Stephen Cohen is one of the most provocative political scientists currently writing on the Soviet Union....[The essays] comprise the most concise articulation to date of his ongoing indictment of the legacy of the scholarship of the Cold War period....One cannot exaggerate the timeliness of this collection. No one will feel comfortable with glib and facile judgments of Soviet reality after engaging this stimulating study."--The History Teacher

"An important book given that the demise of the Soviet Union has upset the orthodox thinking of most Sovietologists."--Paul St. Clair, State University of New York, Binghampton