by Joseph Rothschild
Based on the title, long-time followers of this blog can perhaps roll out the standard checklist. Is it a history text that will be of minimal interesting to people outside academia? Yes. It is focused on introductory concepts and description? Yes. Is it effective in this end? Yes again. To elaborate, it’s a strong piece of writing that effectively shows the process of variation experienced by different regimes under the common Soviet bloc in the Cold War, and the factors that made them decline. Gives a particularly good overview of different stages experienced by the countries in terms of strategic calculations, ruling party composition and economic availability, and the way they toyed with different forms of communism and nationalism.