The Soviet Bloc, Unity and Conflict, revised edition

In This Review

The Soviet Bloc, Unity and Conflict, revised edition

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Harvard University Press, 1967
599 pp.
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Only once in the postwar period did someone tie together all dimensions of the Soviet world: the Soviet Union's relationship with Eastern Europe, the domestic sources of change within the socialist camp, the ongoing struggle with Tito's Yugoslavia, and, the most dramatic development of all, the Sino-Soviet conflict. Brzezinski did this with an intellectual flair and clarity of argument and prose that set his book apart from an increasingly solid collection of work that by the 1960s was focused on different aspects of Soviet, East European, and Chinese foreign policy. In the first edition, published in 1960, Brzezinski dwelt on the process by which the East European states were turned into satellites of the Soviet Union, the first signs of trouble after Stalin's death, and the tumult unleashed by Khrushchev's fateful efforts to come to terms with the Stalinist legacy. By 1967, when the second revised edition appeared, "polycentrism" in Eastern Europe -- clearest in the challenge raised by Romania -- and the deepening conflict between Beijing and Moscow had transformed the original image of a communist monolith into a wildly complicated heterogeneity of relationships.