The Soviet Union Under Brezhnev provides an accessible post-Soviet perspective on the history of the USSR from the mid-1960’s to the mid-1980’s. It challenges both the ‘evil empire’ image of the USSR that was widespread in the early 1980’s and the ‘stagnation’ label attached to the period by Soviet reformers under Gorbachev.
The book makes use of a range of memoirs, interviews, archival documents and other sources not available before 1990 to place Brezhnev and his epoch in a broader historical context. The author:
examines high politics, foreign policy and policy making
explores broader social, cultural and demographic trends
presents a picture of Soviet society in the crucial decades prior to the upheavals and crises of the late 1980’s
While stopping well short of a full-scale rehabilitation of Brezhnev, Tompson rejects the prevailing image of the Soviet leader as a colourless non-entity, drawing attention to Brezhnev’s real political skills, as well as his faults, and to the systemic roots of many of the problems he faced.
Each book in the Seminar Studies series provides a concise and reliable introduction to a wide range of complex historical events and debates, covering topics in British, European, US and world history from the early modern period to the present day. Written by acknowledged experts and including supporting material such as extracts from historical documents, chronologies, glossaries, guides to key figures and further reading suggestions, Seminar Studies titles are essential reading for students of history.
Almost half a century after its launch, the series continues to introduce students to the problems involved in explaining the past, giving them the opportunity to grapple with historical documents and encouraging them to reach their own conclusions. To submit proposals for new books in the Seminar Studies series, please contact the series editors:
Clive.Emsley: clive.emsley @ open.ac.uk
Gordon Martel: Gordon.Martel @ unbc.ca