Another addition to the swelling cluster of general histories of Russia before and after the 1917 revolution that have been published since the fall of the Soviet Union. Service deals with the three Russias of the twentieth century: the czarist regime in its last, failing years, the Soviet Union, and the young Russia of the moment. For the uninitiated, he offers a compact, well-rounded account of each regime's salient features, permitting the reader to think about them in the context of the others. The more experienced reader may wish for a bolder set of interpretive themes by which to squeeze greater meaning from this remarkable story, something clearer and deeper than the potpourri of competing views that he lays out in the introduction and largely abandons for the rest of the book.
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