Russia's Failed Revolutions: From the Decembrists to the Dissidents

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Russia's Failed Revolutions: From the Decembrists to the Dissidents

By Adam B. Ulam
Basic Books, 1981
453 pp. $18.95
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On the same theme as Shatz's work and at greater length, Adam Ulam starts with a reassessment of the Decembrists, skips to the discontented intellectuals and revolutionaries of Alexander II's time, concentrates heavily on those who made the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, and concludes with a brief treatment of dissent in the U.S.S.R. The book's interest lies less in the facts, which are familiar, than in Ulam's wide-ranging and stimulating interpretation of them, particularly his discussion of the role of Russian nationalism, and of why even political convulsion and social transformation have not changed the pattern of the cult of power and the persistence of the centralized bureaucratic state.