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Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This classic biography carefully traces Bukharin's rise to and fall from power, focusing particularly on the development of his theories and programmatic ideas during the critical period between Lenin's death in 1924 and the ascendancy of Stalin in 1929.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published February 1st 1980 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1973)
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Neal
Feb 21, 2016 Neal rated it it was amazing
The bulk of this book is a history of the USSR's New Economic Policy from its initiation in 1921 until its abrupt termination at the end of 1929. The NEP was a policy formulated largely by Lenin and Bukharin which tried to lead the USSR through a market-based transition to socialism. With this history, told from Bukharin's perspective, Stephen Cohen makes two very important arguments.

First, he shows how Lenin, Bukharin, and the vast majority of the Bolsheviks planned out a peaceful transition t
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Manray9
Oct 04, 2015 Manray9 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia
Cohen's acclaimed biography of the man Lenin named "the favorite of the Party" and Stalin shot as a traitor is a must for all interested in Soviet history and the triumph of Stalinism. An excellent example of academic writing.
John
Feb 19, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: soviet-history
Of course, this books deserves the praise that critics have heaped upon it since its publication in 1971. I can think of no other history of Soviet politics up to Bukharin's execution in 1938 that even approaches it in completeness and clarity. The outlines of that history are immediately evident, and one can consult other works for all the details.

I do have one criticism of the book, however. In his introduction Cohen writes: "The real question is whether either of these party leaders [Trotsky
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Riley
Oct 13, 2012 Riley rated it it was amazing
Not realizing it, I read this book twice (in 2011 and 2012), and even wrote two reviews. The five stars was my first review. I would have given it four the second time around.

Review 1)

Every era inevitably reexamines and rewrites history. That is especially true with accounts of the Soviet Union, where there are huge differences depending on whether a book was written before or after the Iron Curtain's collapse.

Today, most histories stress the continuity between Lenin and Stalin, and the bloodi
...more
Ming
Jan 28, 2009 Ming rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Author was my teacher on a course on Russia in college. An interesting look at the power stuggle between party members with the power vacuum left by lenin
Brant
Nov 23, 2016 Brant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Cohen lays out not only a biography in the narrow term but a history of the time and place in which Bukharin lived. It functions as a critique of the approach of Lenin towards economic policies before the revolution, which Lenin wrote off almost completely. It allows for a new understanding of the original Bolshevik dialectal unity of theory and practice that would be ruptured by Stalin during the first five-year plan, where practice would use theory as a rubber stamp for the outcomes of what wo ...more
Brendan
Apr 07, 2014 Brendan rated it it was amazing
The Gospel According to Cohen

After forty years, Stephen F. Cohen’s Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: a Political Biography remains a supreme document of Soviet history and a triumphant act of revisionist history. Cohen writes a linear history of the life of Nikolai Bukharin, the Bolshevik Party’s most brilliant theorist, while supplementing the narrative with Bukharin’s intellectual engagements with the Soviet Union as it develops.Cohen divides his study in ten chapters, roughly beginning
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Ryan
Dec 04, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it
C:4 U:3 P:4 A:3

This will be pretty dry if you don't enjoy the vagaries of early Bolshevik theoretics. And knowledge of the contemporary political situation is assumed. That said, Cohen makes a strong case for Bukharin's rehabilitation as a major object of historical interest. And by taking seriously Bukharin's sociological contributions to Marxist-leninism, he shed light on how, exactly, top bolsheviks rationalized some of the more glaring contradictions their revolutionary project produced.

Buk
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Rick
Feb 07, 2011 Rick rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning book - remarkable research went into its preparation. The writing is excellent. The subject matter - and subject-of-the-biography - are fascinating and meaningful about how Stalinism developed in opposition to Bukharin's entirely different intentions and theory about how to build communism. I never encountered the name or story of Nikolai Bukharin in my history studies in high school or college. I am glad I have now, and I will read more of this man and the story of the develo ...more
Sigfried
Aug 17, 2008 Sigfried rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc
If I was Bolshevik, I would want to be this pimp. Party theorist, charismatic, womanizer, economic guru, and creator of the NEP, and the last true Bolshevik. Also, he lasted longer than most of the original members of the revolution so that helps. Damn Stalin and his Show Trials. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to know more about being a pimp in a Russian revolution.
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