RUSSIAN STUDIES by Leonard Schapiro

RUSSIAN STUDIES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Occasional pieces from one of the great scholars of the political and intellectual history of late tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. Schapiro is perhaps best known for his two volumes, The Origins of the Communist Autocracy and The Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The same elegance of style and simplification of esoteric subjects that were native to those volumes are visible in these essays, which span a period of his writings from 1955 to 1982. Except for an essay on Plekhanov and a lecture on Alexander Blok, all were previously published. Most are fairly short, but there is a major, 60-page discussion of Lenin's intellectual development. Schapiro's focus is multifaceted. He is equally at home discussing the careers of important Russian figures such as Stolypin, Strove, or Bukharin, as he is discussing concepts, such as the mystique of revolution or the concept of ideology as evolved by Marx; or writing of events, such as the Kronstadt Uprising, or discussing Russian literature and the arts. In his review of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag, he sees as that author's abiding faith (and reading this volume of essays, one can only see this as mirroring Schapiro's own view) that Stalin's excesses were inherent in the materialist doctrines associated with Marx and Lenin. Schapiro proceeds to crown Solzhenitsyn as ""one of the most remarkable human spirits of this generation."" Of interest to all serious students of Russian politics and thought.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking