It might seem oxymoronic to speak of shining moments during the waning years of the Soviet Union, but Aron more than justifies the description with a stunning portrait of the intellectual and moral revolution that burst forth between 1987 and 1991. But Aron’s account is less convincing when it comes to explaining why the soul-searching of those heady days later mutated into something more diffuse and less compelling.
With good reason, many military historians consider Georgy Zhukov to have been the greatest general of World War II. No other military leader played so central a role in so many battles that determined the war’s outcome, from the defense of Leningrad and Stalingrad to the conquest of Germany. But even more remarkable was Zhukov’s ability to survive in the Soviet system, a tale well told in this compact biography.
Lendvai, a Hungarian-born veteran Austrian journalist, paints a discouraging and alarming picture of Hungary. For those who assume that the country, safely sheltered in the European Union and NATO, is well on the way to democratic stability and western European–style liberalism, this book will come as a bit of a shock.
In this careful, economical history, Lohr demonstrates that Russia is not the eternally immured nation it has seemed for much of its history, with the Soviet Union only its most extreme version. Even before Peter the Great, but especially after the Great Reforms of the 1860s, Russia’s efforts to modernize led to a patchwork approach to immigration, emigration, and naturalization.
Leitenberg and Zilinskas' massive volume explores every dimension of the Soviet biological weapons program: its technical aspects, what U.S. and British intelligence knew about it, the role of Warsaw Pact allies, the proliferation risk, and how it compared to the Soviet chemical weapons program. Still, they stress how much cannot be known, including all that remains behind the Russian Ministry of Defense’s sealed doors and lips.