Robert V. Daniels’s book Russia: The Roots of Confrontation, first published in 1985, examines the historical contrasts between East and West and elucidates the Russian enigma. The book springs from the thesis that Russia’s national character and its international relations can be understood only in light of the traumas and triumphs, privation and privileges that the country weathered in its unique past under the tsars and the Soviets. The author lays to rest the mistaken American view that Soviet behavior was simply the application of Marxist revolutionary ideology. The character of the Soviet system as it evolved after the Revolution is shown to be a synthesis of revolutionary rhetoric, dictatorial pragmatism, and traditional Russian kinds of behavior. Daniels points out that no part of the world is more alien to Americans than Russia, and he evokes parallels and contrasts with the American experience to clarify the driving forces behind this ill-understood superpower.
Daniels’s extraordinarily compact survey of Russian history, contemporary Soviet society and Soviet-American relations arrives right on time. Lucid, level-headed, firmly grounded, it should serve as a perfect introduction to the Age of Gorbachev.
In this authoritative analysis of the Russian historical experience, Daniels dismantles many of the old stereotypes, misperceptions, and irrational fears that have cumulatively (and consistently) undermined accurate perceptions of who the Soviets are… Both pragmatic and sensitive, this book will give both policy makers and interested laypersons an opportunity to understand the Soviet Union in new and more enlightened ways.
- Harvard University Press
- Series edited by Edwin O. Reischauer
From this author
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