100 books like The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy

By Chris Miller,

Here are 100 books that The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy fans have personally recommended if you like The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed

Sarah B. Snyder Author Of Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network

From my list on the end of the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Russian history and American-Soviet relations since high school. Now at American University’s School of International Service, I teach courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, as well as human rights and U.S. foreign policy. I have written two books on the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, including Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network and From Selma to Moscow: How U.S. Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy. When I’m not working, I love a good Cold War TV series (Deutschland 83 or The Americans).

Sarah's book list on the end of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Why did Sarah love this book?

In How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, Slavenka Drakulić details the everyday indignities of living under communist Yugoslavia, including thin toilet paper and no access to luxuries such as strawberries or fruit juice. Her essays show the impact of high politics on everyday living but also how communism failed – to produce washing machines, manufacture tampons, or meet the needs of its citizens.

By Slavenka Drakulić,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an account of what life is like for women in communist Europe - from the lack of toys for their children to their own lack of privacy. This book charts the tentative strings of feminist movements from the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Slavenka Drakulic is the co-founder of the first feminist group in Yugoslavia and she holds teaching Fellowships in several European and American universities.


Book cover of Empowering Revolution: America, Poland, and the End of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Author Of Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network

From my list on the end of the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Russian history and American-Soviet relations since high school. Now at American University’s School of International Service, I teach courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, as well as human rights and U.S. foreign policy. I have written two books on the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, including Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network and From Selma to Moscow: How U.S. Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy. When I’m not working, I love a good Cold War TV series (Deutschland 83 or The Americans).

Sarah's book list on the end of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Why did Sarah love this book?

Domber details how Americans aided and supported the Polish trade union movement Solidarity in the 1980s and the ways U.S. assistance was effective in aiding Poland’s democratic transition. Importantly, in Domber’s account, it was the Polish opposition, leading by moral example, who became heroes to Americans inside and outside the government, and American officials in Washington and Warsaw who looked to Solidarity for guidance on U.S. policy rather than the reverse.

By Gregory F. Domber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empowering Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the most populous country in Eastern Europe as well as the birthplace of the largest anticommunist dissident movement, Poland is crucial in understanding the end of the Cold War. During the 1980s, both the United States and the Soviet Union vied for influence over Poland's politically tumultuous steps toward democratic revolution. In this groundbreaking history, Gregory F. Domber examines American policy toward Poland and its promotion of moderate voices within the opposition, while simultaneously addressing the Soviet and European influences on Poland's revolution in 1989. With a cast including Reagan, Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II, Domber charts American…


Book cover of 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe

Sarah B. Snyder Author Of Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network

From my list on the end of the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Russian history and American-Soviet relations since high school. Now at American University’s School of International Service, I teach courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, as well as human rights and U.S. foreign policy. I have written two books on the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, including Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network and From Selma to Moscow: How U.S. Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy. When I’m not working, I love a good Cold War TV series (Deutschland 83 or The Americans).

Sarah's book list on the end of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Why did Sarah love this book?

Writing about the end of the Cold War, Mary Sarotte argues the fall of the Berlin Wall was not inevitable and that the United States was not the dominant player. She focuses instead on the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s drive for German reunification and a new architecture for post-Cold War Europe. More significantly, her book was one of the first to treat 1989 not as an endpoint in international relations but as a beginning.

By Mary Elise Sarotte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1989 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1989 explores the momentous events following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the effects they have had on our world ever since. Based on documents, interviews, and television broadcasts from Washington, London, Paris, Bonn, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, and a dozen other locations, 1989 describes how Germany unified, NATO expansion began, and Russia got left on the periphery of the new Europe. This updated edition contains a new afterword with the most recent evidence on the 1990 origins of NATO's post-Cold War expansion.


Book cover of Unwanted Visionaries: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Author Of Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network

From my list on the end of the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Russian history and American-Soviet relations since high school. Now at American University’s School of International Service, I teach courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, as well as human rights and U.S. foreign policy. I have written two books on the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, including Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network and From Selma to Moscow: How U.S. Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy. When I’m not working, I love a good Cold War TV series (Deutschland 83 or The Americans).

Sarah's book list on the end of the Cold War

Sarah B. Snyder Why did Sarah love this book?

In Unwanted Visionaries Radchenko reveals the very different ways the Cold War ended in Asia, not with the jubilant breaching of the Berlin Wall and largely peaceful transitions of power, but with the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Vietnamese departure from Cambodia. 

By Sergey Radchenko,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unwanted Visionaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The European and American dimensions of Mikhail Gorbachev's foreign policy captured the imagination of contemporary observers and, later, historians. The collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall were the grand events that marked the European finale of the Cold War. The Cold War ended differently in Asia, where there was no easy closure, no great fanfare, and little credit awarded for changing the world. Yet Gorbachev was fascinated
by Asia and in his early years in power, he addressed the subject of Asia's rise and the importance of Soviet engagement with the region. He…


Book cover of A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union

Lorenz M. Lüthi Author Of Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe

From my list on Cold War history published recently.

Why am I passionate about this?

During the later Cold War, I grew up in neutral and peaceful Switzerland. My German mother’s family lived apart in divided Germany. I knew as a child that I would become a historian because I wanted to find out what had happened to my mother’s home and why there was a Cold War in the first place. My father’s service as a Swiss Red Cross delegate in Korea after 1953 raised my interest in East Asia. After learning Russian and Chinese, I wrote my first book on The Sino-Soviet Split. When I was finishing the book, I resolved to reinvent myself as a global historian, which is why I wrote my second book as a reinterpretation of the global Cold War as a series of parallel regional Cold Wars in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Lorenz's book list on Cold War history published recently

Lorenz M. Lüthi Why did Lorenz love this book?

A Full-Value Ruble is economic history at its best. Using Soviet archival materials for both the Stalin and Khrushchev periods, Kristy Ironside shows how indispensable money was to an economy that, for ideological reasons, aimed at abolishing it. But a strong ruble (and not just any currency) did not mean that the underlying economy was strong. Using money as a lens, the author provides the reader with a multi-faceted view of Soviet urban and rural daily life in peace, war, and reconstruction.

By Kristy Ironside,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Full-Value Ruble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new history shows that, despite Marxism's rejection of money, the ruble was critical to the Soviet Union's promise of shared prosperity for its citizens.

In spite of Karl Marx's proclamation that money would become obsolete under Communism, the ruble remained a key feature of Soviet life. In fact, although Western economists typically concluded that money ultimately played a limited role in the Soviet Union, Kristy Ironside argues that money was both more important and more powerful than most histories have recognized. After the Second World War, money was resurrected as an essential tool of Soviet governance. Certainly, its importance…


Book cover of Red Globalization: The Political Economy of the Soviet Cold War from Stalin to Khrushchev

Francine McKenzie Author Of GATT and Global Order in the Postwar Era

From my list on why international trade is all about politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. I have written about the history of international organizations, international trade, the British Commonwealth, and Canada in the world. Although these topics have taken me in different directions, I have always examined the political currents that run through them. Politics emerge in relation to ideology, policymaking, leadership, norms, values, interests, identity, international relations, and global governance. I have been especially interested in connecting economics and politics. Many scholars write about trade policies, organizations, and negotiations as though they are technical and narrowly economic when they are agents, instruments, and expressions of international politics. 

Francine's book list on why international trade is all about politics

Francine McKenzie Why did Francine love this book?

This revisionist book rejects the established view that the Soviet Union opted out of the global economy to develop a parallel and exclusive communist economic system.

Despite a Cold War logic in which communist and capitalist economic systems were understood to be incompatible and engaged in a zero-sum competition, Sanchez Sibony shows that Soviet officials and leaders wanted to be engaged in the global economy, at least partly. They wanted imports; they were less keen to export.

This doesn’t make the global economy less political or ideological, but it means the Cold War alone does not explain how economics and politics interacted with one another in the formulation of Soviet foreign economic policy. 

By Oscar Sanchez-Sibony,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red Globalization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Was the Soviet Union a superpower? Red Globalization is a significant rereading of the Cold War as an economic struggle shaped by the global economy. Oscar Sanchez-Sibony challenges the idea that the Soviet Union represented a parallel socio-economic construct to the liberal world economy. Instead he shows that the USSR, a middle-income country more often than not at the mercy of global economic forces, tracked the same path as other countries in the world, moving from 1930s autarky to the globalizing processes of the postwar period. In examining the constraints and opportunities afforded the Soviets in their engagement of the…


Book cover of Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development

John Philipp Baesler Author Of Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War

From my list on Russia in Western eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in West Germany, surrounded by American soldiers and with a father who had escaped communist East Germany, the Cold War always fascinated me. What was it about? Would it ever end? When it did, it took everybody by surprise. This lesson, that nothing is certain and that history can always make a turn when you least expect it, stayed with me as I pursued my degrees in history, first in Heidelberg and then at Indiana University Bloomington. As an immigrant to the United States, I study the United States from the outside and the inside. How Americans see themselves, and how they see others, is my main interest that I keep exploring from different angles.

John's book list on Russia in Western eyes

John Philipp Baesler Why did John love this book?

American observers were endlessly fascinated by Russia long before the Cold War began and before supposed Russian election interference became a news item. However, they could never make up their minds about what made the Russian people tick. In this eye-opening book, David Engerman shows how American journalists, diplomats, and social scientists romanticized and ridiculed Russian peasants, praised or condemned the attempts by the Tsar and the Bolsheviks to modernize Russia by force, and marbled at the Russian “national character.” Engerman in a masterly fashion reveals how prejudices have shaped American views of Russia.

By David C. Engerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Modernization from the Other Shore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the late nineteenth century to the eve of World War II, America's experts on Russia watched as Russia and the Soviet Union embarked on a course of rapid industrialization. Captivated by the idea of modernization, diplomats, journalists, and scholars across the political spectrum rationalized the enormous human cost of this path to progress. In a fascinating examination of this crucial era, David Engerman underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy.

American intellectuals from George Kennan to Samuel Harper to Calvin Hoover understood Russian events in terms…


Book cover of Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

Lisa Dickey Author Of Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia

From my list on the Russian people.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lisa Dickey is an author and book collaborator who’s helped write 20+ nonfiction books, including 10 New York Times Best Sellers. She’s also a Russophile from way back:  her first post-college job was working as a nanny at the U.S. embassy in Moscow during the last days of the Soviet Union. Lisa began her writing career in St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, writing for the Moscow Times and USA Today, and she’s the author of Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia.

Lisa's book list on the Russian people

Lisa Dickey Why did Lisa love this book?

I’m recommending this because if have any interest in Russia but haven’t yet read it, you simply must. No, really, listen: You must. David Remnick writes like Muhammad Ali boxed: with grace, power, and an unfair amount of skill. This is a deeply researched, carefully crafted, incredibly absorbing account of the final days of the Soviet Union. Never mind the “tomb” title; the book is filled with colorful characters and delicious slices of life, all captured during a time of historic upheaval.

By David Remnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lenin's Tomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
One of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times 

From the editor of The New Yorker: a riveting account of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has become the standard book on the subject. Lenin’s Tomb combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. Remnick takes us through the tumultuous 75-year period of Communist rule leading up to the collapse and gives us the voices of those who lived through it, from democratic activists to Party members, from anti-Semites to Holocaust survivors, from Gorbachev…


Book cover of Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

Henry Virgin Author Of Exit Rostov

From my list on psychological enquiry in alternative formats.

Why am I passionate about this?

Certain books have the ability to inspire you or help you go beyond the boundaries of your understanding, to teach you something new or to show you how to look at things differently, to alter and enhance your perception. Each of these texts have encouraged and enchanted me, with hard-won truths. I appreciate the style of writing which draws you further and further into the author's psyche, and thus into your own, like deep diving into uncharted depths. Also, as someone who tries to write poetry and prose, I find each of these writers have a refreshing and interesting technique and method of communicating their thoughts and ideas.

Henry's book list on psychological enquiry in alternative formats

Henry Virgin Why did Henry love this book?

If you would like to try and understand the Soviet and post-Soviet psyche, these first-hand, verbatim interviews from 1991-2012, by Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian Nobel Laureate, question and discuss what it means and meant to be a Soviet. With a wide selection of individual testimonies from different backgrounds of the Soviet Union, from ordinary folk to officials, prisoners, relatives of those who were murdered, the executioners, the book also investigates how they coped when the Soviet Union broke down. Written from transcribed, spoken recordings, these documentary / reportage texts get to the heart of the matter—often that there is a gaping vacancy in the place of what one had previously believed in, from one's earliest of days, even before becoming a red-scarfed Pioneer. When one's whole philosophical fabric has been torn down, how do you exist? How do you cope and make sense of the world? What really is so…

By Bela Shayevich, Svetlana Alexievich,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Secondhand Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia, from Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Financial Times • Kirkus Reviews

When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the…


Book cover of The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union

Fabian Baumann Author Of Dynasty Divided: A Family History of Russian and Ukrainian Nationalism

From my list on the long prehistory of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was through learning Russian in my Swiss high school that I first got interested in the history of Eastern Europe. When I became fascinated by the theory of nationalism during my university studies, my geographical focus shifted to Ukraine, a society whose aspiration to nationhood has been repeatedly been contested by the neighboring great powers. For my first book, I researched the history of a fascinating nationally bifurcated family whose members have left archival traces from Moscow to Liubljana and from Kyiv to Stanford. I hold a BA degree from the University of Geneva, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and a PhD from the University of Basel.

Fabian's book list on the long prehistory of Russia’s war against Ukraine

Fabian Baumann Why did Fabian love this book?

Putin’s war, among other things, is aimed at reversing Ukraine’s move towards independence after the crumbling of the Soviet Union in the wake of Gorbachev’s perestroika.

Serhii Plokhy, one of the most respected experts in Ukrainian history, explains in detail how the Ukrainian party leadership and population played a central role in the dissolution of the union. An essential read to understand the processes that ultimately led towards Ukraine’s democratization and towards the rise of a revisionist authoritarianism in Russia.

By Serhii Plokhy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to declare an American victory in the Cold War: earlier that day Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as the first and last Soviet president. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the triumph of democratic values over communism, took centre stage in American public discourse immediately after Bush's speech and has persisted for decades,with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world.As Prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire ,…


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Interested in the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the economy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the economy.

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