The "Russian Question" was an absolutely central problem for Marxism in the twentieth century. Numerous attempts were made to understand the nature of Soviet society. In his new book Western Marxism and the Soviet Union IISH staff member Marcel van der Linden tries to portray the development of these theoretical contributions in a coherent, comprehensive appraisal. It aims to present the development of the Western Marxist critique of the Soviet Union across a long period in history (from 1917 to the present) and in a large region (Western Europe and North America). Within this demarcation of limits in time and space, attention has been paid to all Marxist analyses which in some way significantly deviated from or added to the older theories. The book also contains a massive bibliography of the relevant publications; an effort has been made to ensure completeness.
In a small German companion volume (Was war die Sowjetunion?) some key texts developing Marxist critiques of the Soviet Union have been collected. A long introductory essay offers an alternative interpretation of the USSR's rise and fall.
Marcel van der Linden, Western Marxism and the Soviet Union. A Survey of Critical Theories and Debates Since 1917 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007). XII + 380 pp. € 89.00; US$ 125.00
Marcel van der Linden, Was war die Sowjetunion? Kritische Texte zum real existierenden Sozialismus (Vienna: Promedia, 2007). 176 pp. € 12.90