Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1999 v246 i35 p68


The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939


Russia's ongoing transformation from a command economy has confounded Western experts since the Soviet Union fell in 1991. Most glossy assumptions of how the Russian people and the economy would behave have proved miserably wrong. The contributors to The Russian Transformation: Political, Sociological, and Psychological Aspects, edited by professors Betty Glad and Eric Shiraev, turn a wide-angle lens on a multifaceted process, examining the psychological dimensions of economic and political transition. (St. Martin's, $49.95 3O4p ISBN 0-312-21566-5; Sept.)

Denied by Soviet officials for decades, the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, during which hundreds of thousands of "political" arrests and executions were carried out, have long been the subject of speculation and personal accounts. In The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, J. Arch Getty, professor of modern Russian history at the University of California, and Russian archivist Oleg V. Naumov provide commentary on hundreds of top-secret Soviet documents from the 1930s, assembled and translated here into English for the first time. As the authors note in the preface, "What used to be a paucity of resources has become an embarrassment of riches" that both exposes and confirms a dark chapter of Soviet history. (Yale Univ., $35 638p ISBN 0-300-07772-6; Sept.)