The Collapse of the Soviet Military

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9780300074697: The Collapse of the Soviet Military
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In this book, a distinguished United States Army officer and scholar traces the rise and fall of the Soviet military, arguing that it had a far greater impact on Soviet politics and economic development than was perceived in the West. Drawing on interviews with key actors in the Soviet Union before, during, and after its collapse in 1991, General William E. Odom tells a riveting and important story.

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William E. Odom, a retired Lt. General with a Ph.D. from Columbia, served as a top advisor in both the Carter and Reagan administrations (including a stint director of the National Security Agency). He writes surprisingly well about the quiet disintegration of the Soviet armed forces: "In a mere six years, the world's largest and arguably most powerful military melted like the spring ice in Russia's arctic rivers as it breaks up, drifts in floes, and slowly disappears." He also offers key insights, particularly in his analysis of Soviet war philosophy, including the reasons Marxist theory made a huge military almost inevitable and why Gorbachev's attempt to reduce its size posed a threat to the whole Communist system; he also traces the influence of von Clausewitz's thinking on Lenin. But this is all by way of introduction to Odom's discussion of what happened when Mikhail Gorbachev foisted perestroika on the Soviet Union and its armed forces. Odom personally interviewed many of the participants, lending considerable detail to his chronicle of Russia's 1991 August Crisis and the rise of Boris Yeltsin. --John J. Miller

About the Author:

William E. Odom retired in 1988 as a lieutenant general in the United States Army and as director of the National Security Agency. He is currently director of national security studies at the Hudson Institute and an adjunct professor of political science at Yale University.

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