Brezhnev: The Making of a Statesman (Hardback)Susanne Schattenberg (author)
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 922 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
The first proper biography of an enigmatic Soviet mastodon. Long seen as a taxidermied old apparatchik dozing at the wheel of the USSR, and distinguished principally by the luxuriance of his eyebrows, Leonid Brezhnev is something of a void as a historical figure. He used his 18 years as General Secretary (only Stalin lasted longer) to crush the Prague Spring and invade Afghanistan, yet little in depth has emerged about just who the expressionless Ukranian was and how he operated. A huge book for a huge subject. * Strong Words *
Following Stalin's reign of terror and Khrushchev's erratic reforms, Leonid Brezhnev tried to stabilize the Soviet system. Brezhnev, his first full and in-depth portrait, draws on long-secret sources to chronicle his rise, his rule, and his contributions both to the growth of Soviet power and the USSR's eventual disintegration, along with his own. * William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003), and of Gorbachev: His Life and Times (2017) *
A compelling new view of Brezhnev, demythologizing his early life and career, and using recently-opened archival materials to present his two decades in power as Soviet leader in an unfamiliar light. Schattenberg shows him introducing a new style of 'caring' interactions with colleagues as well as consolidating the long-promised Soviet welfare state at home and striving for detente abroad. But his decline in his last years (from addiction to sedatives, it turns out, not just old age) marred his legacy. * Sheila Fitzpatrick, Author of On Stalin's Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics (2015) *
The benchmark against which all future biographies of Leonid Brezhnev will be measured, Susanne Schattenberg's Brezhnev: The Making of a Statesman, now available in English, is the most informed, detailed, judicious, accessible, and academic account of this pivotal Soviet leader. Filling a real gap in the literature, the wide-ranging study is a must read for anyone interested in the twilight years of Soviet socialism. * Donald J. Raleigh, author of Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia's Cold War Generation (2012) *
Susanne Schattenberg has produced the first serious biography of Brehznev, using newly opened Party archives to give us a vivid portrait of the man and leader. This will be essential reading for historians of the late Soviet Union for many years to come. * Orlando Figes, author of 'The Europeans' (2019) *
Using abundant archival sources and literature for Brezhnev's political biography, Susanne Schattenberg presents a picture of a rather flexible and politically active leader thus shattering the image of Brezhnev as a symbol of stagnation. * Saulius Grybkauskas Senior Research Fellow Lithuanian Institute of History *
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