Catalogue


Chernenko : the last Bolshevik : the Soviet Union on the eve of Perestroika /
Ilya Zemtsov.
imprint
New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A. : Transaction Publishers, c1989.
description
xv, 308 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0887382606
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A. : Transaction Publishers, c1989.
isbn
0887382606
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
788077
 
Bibliography: p. 273-288.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1989-12:
Zemtsov (director, International Research Center on Contemporary Society, Jerusalem) has filled a gap in the literature of Soviet politics. Usually dismissed as a nonentity, Chernenko appears here as an important transitional figure in Soviet history. Formerly a prominent sociologist in the USSR, Zemtsov supplies firsthand observations of the late leader, supplemented by insights of others who know Chernenko well; additionally, there is thorough documentation from Soviet sources. Chernenko's career prior to his election as General Secretary is traced in detail, followed by close scrutiny of his policies as leader and the sociopolitical context of his brief tenure. Extra dividends include the most plausible explanation extant of the Ogarkov affair of 1984 and a superb description and analysis of the Soviet underground economy. The book is well written and filled with incisive observations on the operation of the Soviet political system. A glossary of terms and a comprehensive bibliography. Useful for scholars of Soviet politics at all levels; a must for graduate students. -R. J. Mitchell, University of New Orleans
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[Zemtsov] has filled a gap in the literature of Soviet politics. Usually dismissed as a nonentity, Chernenko appears here as an important transitional figure in Soviet history... The book is well written and filled with incisive observations on the operation of the Soviet political system... Useful for scholars of Soviet politics at all levels; a must for graduate students." -R. J. Mitchell, Choice "...Zemtsov has once again shown that he is a first rate expert on the Soviet Union, that he knows the Soviet Union from the inside- supplies the reader with information which in its greater part was previously unknown- Highlights include insight into the 'inner life'of the Party, the struggle for succession to Brezhnev, and the situation of internal politics on the eve of transfer of political power to Gorbachev." -Dr. Werner Gumpel, University of Munich "... impressive. No other author whom I know is able to write on this subject with so many details, a profound knowledge of the Soviet Party system, and with such depth, humour, and irony. Without hesitation I recommend this book as essential reading on the recent Kremlin policy." -Professor Yuri Glazov, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia "... a vivid, unvarnished, but objective account of Chernenko's rise to power.... Professor Zemtsov convincingly shows how Chernenko grew in his offices in Moscow: from a provincial Party hack and Brezhnev's confidential secretary cum valet, to an innovative writer in domestic affairs and a moderating influence in foreign policy. Strongly recommended for all those whose interest in the Soviet Union goes beyond the headlines on Gorbachev." -Yaroslav Bilinsky, University of Delaware
"[Zemtsov] has filled a gap in the literature of Soviet politics. Usually dismissed as a nonentity, Chernenko appears here as an important transitional figure in Soviet history... The book is well written and filled with incisive observations on the operation of the Soviet political system... Useful for scholars of Soviet politics at all levels; a must for graduate students." --R. J. Mitchell, Choice "...Zemtsov has once again shown that he is a first rate expert on the Soviet Union, that he knows the Soviet Union from the inside-- supplies the reader with information which in its greater part was previously unknown-- Highlights include insight into the 'inner life'of the Party, the struggle for succession to Brezhnev, and the situation of internal politics on the eve of transfer of political power to Gorbachev." --Dr. Werner Gumpel, University of Munich "... impressive. No other author whom I know is able to write on this subject with so many details, a profound knowledge of the Soviet Party system, and with such depth, humour, and irony. Without hesitation I recommend this book as essential reading on the recent Kremlin policy." --Professor Yuri Glazov, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia "... a vivid, unvarnished, but objective account of Chernenko's rise to power.... Professor Zemtsov convincingly shows how Chernenko grew in his offices in Moscow: from a provincial Party hack and Brezhnev's confidential secretary cum valet, to an innovative writer in domestic affairs and a moderating influence in foreign policy. Strongly recommended for all those whose interest in the Soviet Union goes beyond the headlines on Gorbachev." --Yaroslav Bilinsky, University of Delaware
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1989
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko. a figure wtm appeared to the outside worid as a commonplace Russian bureaucrat cut from the mold of a Gogol short story, was elevated in 1984 to the post of general secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union. Thus, a post held by such awesome, fearsome figures as Lenin and Stalin passed into the hands of someone perceived as a nondescript bureaucrat, devoid of ideas or initiative, and crippled by old age and infirmity. A singular merit of this work is that it shows how far from the mark were these perceptions. This is the only full-length treatment of Chernenko. in contrast to the vast tomes written on his five predecessors as well as on the present incumbent, Mkrhail Gorbachev. The work delves into archival materials never before reported in either the East or West. The picture that emerges is not of some run-of-the-mill apparatchik, but of a figure who in the context of the Brezhnev era came forth with ideas that were revolutionary, at least in the sense of a realization of the deep malaise into which Soviet economy and society had fallen. Zemtsov's volume explains the paradox of a servile conservative member of th Politburo becoming an innovative, even courageous, leader during the thirteen fateful months he held Soviet power, ft is a tribute to this effort at reconstruction that what emerges is a rounded human being and not simply a political actor. This analytical study of the transformation of a peasant into a politician fills out a missing link without which the current impulse to reform in the U.S.S.R. is hard to understand or appreciate
Main Description
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko. a fig­ure wtm appeared to the outside worid as a commonplace Russian bureaucrat cut from the mold of a Gogol short story, was elevated in 1984 to the post of general sec­retary of the Communist party of the So­viet Union. Thus, a post held by such awesome, fearsome figures as Lenin and Stalin passed into the hands of someone perceived as a nondescript bureaucrat, de­void of ideas or initiative, and crippled by old age and infirmity. A singular merit of this work is that it shows how far from the mark were these perceptions. This is the only full-length treatment of Chernenko. in contrast to the vast tomes written on his five predecessors as well as on the present incumbent, Mkrhail Gorbachev. The work delves into archival materials never before reported in either the East or West. The picture that emerges is not of some run-of-the-mill ap­paratchik, but of a figure who in the con­text of the Brezhnev era came forth with ideas that were revolutionary, at least in the sense of a realization of the deep mal­aise into which Soviet economy and so­ciety had fallen. Zemtsov's volume explains the paradox of a servile conservative member of th Politburo becoming an innovative, even courageous, leader during the thirteen fateful months he held Soviet power, ft is a tribute to this effort at reconstruction that what emerges is a rounded human being and not simply a political actor. This ana­lytical study of the transformation of a peasant into a politician fills out a missing link without which the current impulse to reform in the U.S.S.R. is hard to under­stand or appreciate

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