The story of an empire made and an empire undone - and what emerged from the ashes - by one of the world's leading authorities on Soviet Russia.
Soviet Russia arrived in the world accidentally and departed unexpectedly. More than a hundred years after the Russian Revolution, the tumultuous history of the Soviet Union continues to fascinate us and influence global politics.
Here is an irresistible entree to a sweeping history. From revolution and Lenin to Stalin's Great Terror, from World War II to Gorbachev's perestroika policies, this is a lively, authoritative distillation of seventy-five years of communist rule and the collapse of an empire.
Sheila Fitzpatrick shows us the fate of countries often left out of discussions of the Soviet age, provides vivid portraits of key Soviet figures and traces the aftermath of the regime's unexpected fall- the rise of Vladimir Putin, a creature of the Soviet system but not a Soviet nostalgic; and how China learned from the Soviet collapse.
The Shortest History of the Soviet Union is a small masterpiece, replete with telling detail and peppered with some very black humour.