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Russia

Hopes and Fears

By (author) Alexander Werth
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Barrie & Jenkins
Published: 30th Apr 1969
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0214666794
ISBN-13: 9780214666797
Barcode No: 9780214666797

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Kirkus US
This broad survey of Soviet life and international relations from 1945 to mid-1948 makes some vigorous restatements of various academic revisionist emphases. Drawing on his Russia at War (1964), Werth recalls concretely how weak the U.S.S.R. was, how bent on self-protection rather than aggressive expansion, and indeed how craven Stalin was in seeking to preserve the wartime sphere-of influence agreements the Anglo-Americans were eager to cancel in light of their A-bomb leverage. Hence Stalin's refusal to aid the Greek insurgents, his injunction to restore the Yugoslav king, his restraint over unilateral Berlin action at the risk of offending his allies. And his consolidation of control over Eastern Europe, a subject particularly graphic and concise in Werth's treatment, came only after Western betrayals and attacks on his harmless little popular-front deputies in Western parliaments. Werth's analysis of the Marshall Plan is wholly inadequate; his enthusiasm for revisionist scholarship has not extended to economic matters. His treatment of Stalin is at the same time insightful and somewhat apologetic, lie does give a vivid picture of the groundwork for the anti-cosmopolitan-Zionist-Titoist terror of 1948-52, and the Zhdanov purges of arts and sciences, especially music. There are fascinating circumstances and relatively sharp interpretations of the Stalin-Tito split. On the whole it is these which give the book lasting value: guerrilla fighting in Poland and the Ukraine after the war, efforts at economic restoration, the continuation of agonizingly low wartime standards of living. The book is ornamented with the thesis that had FDR lived the Cold War would never have continued; at best, Werth shows that it might have been a more civilized assault by the West. Lavishly readable, the book should draw the same wide audience as Russia At War. (Kirkus Reviews)