Shlapentokh undertakes a dispassionate analysis of the ordinary functioning of the Soviet system from Stalin's death through the Soviet collapse and Russia's first post-communist decade. Without overlooking its repressive character, he treats the USSR as a "normal" system that employed both socialist and nationalist ideologies for the purposes of technological and military modernization, preservation of empire, and expansion of its geopolitical power. Foregoing the projection of Western norms and assumptions, he seeks to achieve a clearer understanding of a civilization that has perplexed its critics and its champions alike.
The president is the key actor in civil rights policy-- its advance, reversal, or neglect. This book documents the critical role presidents have played in setting the agenda, framing the terms of the debate, and formulating specific policy goals with respect to civil rights. By identifying the limits of presidential influence as well as the impact of presidential leadership vis-a-vis the Congress and federal agencies, Shull is able to compare presidents in terms of rhetoric, performance, and effectiveness in this most controversial policy arena.
Expanding upon his previous edition "A Kinder, Gentler Racism?: The Reagan-Bush Civil Rights Legacy", Shull here incorporates the Clinton years, including case studies of the 1996 same-sex marriage controversy and the nominations of Lani Guinier and William Lee for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.