• Armageddon Averted

  • The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000
  • By: Stephen Kotkin
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Featuring extensive revisions to the text as well as a new introduction and epilogue - bringing the book completely up to date on the tumultuous politics of the previous decade and the long-term implications of the Soviet collapse - this compact, original, and engaging book offers the definitive account of one of the great historical events of the last 50 years.  

Combining historical and geopolitical analysis with an absorbing narrative, Kotkin draws upon extensive research, including memoirs by dozens of insiders and senior figures, to illuminate the factors that led to the demise of Communism and the USSR. The new edition puts the collapse in the context of the global economic and political changes from the 1970s to the present day. Kotkin creates a compelling profile of post-Soviet Russia, and he reminds us, with chilling immediacy, of what could not have been predicted - that the world's largest police state, with several million troops, a doomsday arsenal, and an appalling record of violence, would liquidate itself with barely a whimper. 

Throughout the book, Kotkin also paints vivid portraits of key personalities. Using recently released archive materials, for example, he offers a fascinating picture of Gorbachev, describing this virtuoso tactician and resolutely committed reformer as "flabbergasted by the fact that his socialist renewal was leading to the system's liquidation" - and more or less going along with it.  

At once authoritative and provocative, Armageddon Averted illuminates the collapse of the Soviet Union, revealing how "principled restraint and scheming self-interest brought a deadly system to meek dissolution".

©2001 Stephen Kotkin (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape." (The New Yorker)

"A triumph of the art of contemporary history." (The Atlantic Monthly)

"Concise and persuasive. The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage." (The New York Review of Books)

What listeners say about Armageddon Averted

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insightful

detailed but sufficiently brief. very credible analysis of the dynamics of the decline of the soviet union. the core of kotkins view seems to simply be that the communist leaders were communists and that the russian people were patriots. this explains why the USSR became neither China not Yugoslavia.

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a bitter sweet tragedy

without getting into specifics. This book is a great study into the struggles of making and keeping a State for liberty, and the many pitfalls that come with it.

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Very good but too fast

Very interesting and objective. A must read for any interested in history. But the author/ narrator moves too quickly and doesn't ideas settle

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Kotkin shares his obviously extensive research!

Enlightening historical details and insightful commentary on the wildly unlikely, overall peaceful but chaotic dissolution of the USSR.

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Profile Image for olympian
  • olympian
  • 05-23-22

Good overview

Would have appreciated a bit more time spent on some of the topics and inevitable skated over a few things, but for a relatively brief overview it was an interesting listen.

I think the book did a good job of showing some of the issues the society union faced, and how Gorbachev's apparently idealistic reforms were always going to face difficulties. Linking in the issues in the 90s worked well too.

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  • Amazon Costumer
  • 01-03-21

Points for improvement

Could do with maps, tables and charts of statistics, and pictures of important people in an attachment.

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Profile Image for Neil Green
  • Neil Green
  • 11-24-19

Interesting History

The narrator was good. Overall a good book although parts were hard to follow. A sad tale of a country that could do much better but nearly always gets the wrong people in charge. And that looks set to continue.