A team of 13 historians write the history of Russia from its beginnings in 1450 up through 1995. Each chapter discusses a period; each author is a specialist on that era. Treating whole centuries in 30 pages means the account frequently lacks depth, although, given the expertise of the authors, not insight. Often, however, not even insight is possible when, for example, foreign policy for the period from Joseph Stalin's death to Mikhail Gorbachev's arrival is handled in three short paragraphs. A great many important subjects get thus dispatched. Inevitably coherence of theme is sacrificed to the richness of multiple expertise. The intended audience would appear to be college students and the general reader looking for a basic reference source; both will appreciate the handsome photos, prints, and posters that appear throughout.
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