Review by Choice Review
This book endeavors to assess the cultural, political, and spiritual impact of WWII on the Soviet Union. The agenda is an ambitious one, and the author has not completely mastered it. Weiner deals with the concrete to capture the ephemeral, cleaving too closely to the kind of conclusions that the Soviets would have wanted a historian to make. The basic underpinning theses are that the USSR was a normal society; that the war must be seen as a continuation of the Bolshevik Revolution; and that the war created new social substrata based on partisan and battle line camaraderie. To argue the case, the author uses a broad spectrum of sources--literature, newspaper accounts, diaries, court records, and official documents. However, forgetting the country's rocky history, Weiner overemphasizes the normality of the USSR, which drives him to the conclusion that the war enhanced Soviet stability. Not enough attention is paid to those forces that led to the megalith's disintegration only 40 years after their victory over Nazism. The work is well footnoted, has an impressive bibliography, and contains a good index. Recommended for college, especially graduate, level libraries. A. Ezergailis Ithaca College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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