Initial reading about the USSR

Some ideas on relatively short and accessible books to read on the USSR besides Revolution Betrayed.

“The Struggle for the New Course” by Max Shachtman gives a good short history up to 1943
(Difficult to get in print form)

Steve Smith’s “The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction” was recommended by Paul

Alec Nove’s “An Economic History of the USSR, 1917-1991” for latest edition, but there are lots of other editions, and older editions can be got secondhand cheap. It’s much less critical of Stalin than we would be, but it’s well written and informative.

Donald Filtzer (1986) “Soviet workers and Stalinist industrialization: The formation of modern Soviet production relations, 1928-1941”
Good, and quite easy to read, but quite long.

A novel: Anatolii┬áRybakov, “Children of the Arbat”,, gives a vivid picture of life in mid-1930s Moscow. It’s very expensive on Amazon, but available quite cheap at

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