Catalogue


Making sense of war : the Second World War and the fate of the Bolshevik Revolution /
Amir Weiner.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
description
xv, 416 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0691057028 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
isbn
0691057028 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4198288
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"I know no other book that systematically relates World War II and postwar Soviet experience to the whole of Soviet history. The book's originality and its exhaustive research make it truly interesting. Making Sense of War will be an important contribution to the field not only of Russian and Ukrainian history but of European history in general. In a word, this is a tour de force of new scholarship on the Soviet Union."-- Hiroaki Kuromiya, Indiana University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-07-01:
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
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Weiner's work is rich in information and implications."-- Ronald Grigor Suny, Journal of Modern History
"As [Weiner] rightly observes, the second world war was a defining moment in the history of the Soviet Union and its ideology . . . The power of totalitarian regimes to fashion new prejudices out of old is a subject that fascinates with horror; and it reminds us that the ancient hatreds which caused so much bloodshed and misery in the post communist world have often been quite carefully constructed, or at least revived, in relatively recent times."-- The Economist
" Making Sense of War is an impressive study based on a broad reading of secondary literature and copious amounts of archival research in several countries. . . . The greatest benefit of this new work is that it rightly foregrounds World War II in Soviet history and will cause many scholars to reflect on the meaning of 1917. . . . Every scholar of the Soviet Union should read Making Sense of War ."-- Karl D. Qualls, The Russian Review
"[A] difficult and disturbing but ultimately rewarding book."-- Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Slavic Review
Amir Weiner returns us to the real, unadulterated Soviet Union. In Making Sense of the War , he indeed takes us into a new and little-known segment of its history, namely the country's wartime and postwar internal development. Until now, this subject has been ignored by Western historians."-- Martin Malia, The New Republic
"A brilliant book. . . . Weiner's insights into the impact of the war on Soviet ideology and the Soviet polity are often ironic and always valuable."-- Jacob W. Kipp, Journal of Cold War Studies
"[Weiner's] slice of the story focuses on the nature, process, and ontology of the regime's prewar, wartime, and postwar purges. He does this by tracing in painstaking, revealing detail the way these phenomena unfolded."-- Foreign Affairs
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2001
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
"I know no other book that systematically relates World War II and postwar Soviet experience to the whole of Soviet history. The book's originality and its exhaustive research make it truly interesting. "Making Sense of War" will be an important contribution to the field not only of Russian and Ukrainian history but of European history in general. In a word, this is a tour de force of new scholarship on the Soviet Union."--Hiroaki Kuromiya, Indiana University
Main Description
In Making Sense of War, Amir Weiner reconceptualizes the entire historical experience of the Soviet Union from a new perspective, that of World War II. Breaking with the conventional interpretation that views World War II as a post-revolutionary addendum, Weiner situates this event at the crux of the development of the Soviet--not just the Stalinist--system. Through a richly detailed look at Soviet society as a whole, and at one Ukrainian region in particular, the author shows how World War II came to define the ways in which members of the political elite as well as ordinary citizens viewed the world and acted upon their beliefs and ideologies. The book explores the creation of the myth of the war against the historiography of modern schemes for social engineering, the Holocaust, ethnic deportations, collaboration, and postwar settlements. For communist true believers, World War II was the purgatory of the revolution, the final cleansing of Soviet society of the remaining elusive "human weeds" who intruded upon socialist harmony, and it brought the polity to the brink of communism. Those ridden with doubts turned to the war as a redemption for past wrongs of the regime, while others hoped it would be the death blow to an evil enterprise. For all, it was the Armageddon of the Bolshevik Revolution. The result of Weiner's inquiry is a bold, compelling new picture of a Soviet Union both reinforced and enfeebled by the experience of total war.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Making Sense of Warp. 7
Delineating the Body Politicp. 41
Myth and Power: The Making of a Postwar Elitep. 43
""Living Up to the Calling of a Communist"": Purification of the Rank and Filep. 82
Delineating the Body Socioethnicp. 127
Excising Evilp. 129
Memory of Excision, Excisionary Memoryp. 191
The Making of a Postwar Soviet Nationp. 237
Integral Nationalism in the Trial of Warp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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