March 01, 2013

Decline and Stalin

Decline and Stalin

Oliver Bullough (Basic, $27.99, May 2013)

It takes a bit of effort not to be depressed by a book that announces, on page five, that “The Russian state is shriveling from within.”

This is Bullough’s cogent, seven-word diagnosis. The book is his quest to find out how this came to be, how Russia became a “stubbornly dishonest” society, plagued by alcoholism, tobacco, low birth rates and a general moral ambivalence.

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