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Thanks for all the responses to my inquiry about Bolshevik histories. And for suggestions for another lifetime's worth of reading.
I chose the particular history I mentioned because it had about 75 reviews on Amazon that averaged about 4.5 out of 5 on their reviewer scale. That's consistently high for a book of over 1,000 pp. and suggests that it's admired across the ideological spectrum, or at least whatever ideology is shared by people who read books of 1,000+ pages.
Orlando Figes is a British historian who specializes in Russian history; see http://www.orlandofiges.com/orlando.php. All of these books are highly rated by Amazon reviewers, for what it's worth.
I should also note that the PBS program that I saw is from a series described at http://cassandra2004.blogspot.com/2008/07/war-of-world-niall-ferguson-pbs-100.html . Niall Ferguson is the main narrator and omnipresent figure as he looks sternly about in many shots that feature him surveying the locations. He loves himself on camera and includes many shots of himself both interpreting the scene for us and riding about the locations, very sternly. At http://www.niallferguson.com/site/FERG/Templates/Home.aspx?pageid=1&cc=GB he is listed as Harvard faculty member and Hoover Institute affiliate; Hoover is a right-wing think tank at Stanford. That helps explain the perspective I found so cartoonish of the Bolsheviks as bad from the start.
Here he is, looking quite stern:
And here he is, discussing his handsomeness: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8738679/Niall-Ferguson-The-real-point-of-me-isnt-that-Im-good-looking.-Its-that-Im-clever.html
And yet, hard-core right wingers find fault with the documentary's insufficiently American boosterism. See http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/30/sliming-the-greatest-generation-on-pbs/
Distinguished Research Professor<http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/docs/policies/iga/DRP-Guidelines.pdf> of<http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/of> English Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
Department of Language and Literacy Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
The University of Georgia<http://www.uga.edu/>
315 Aderhold Hall<http://www.coe.uga.edu/about/directions.html>
Athens<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens,_Georgia>,<http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/> GA<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_(U.S._state)> 30602<http://www.city-data.com/zips/30602.html>
Advisor, Journal of Language and Literacy Education<http://jolle.coe.uga.edu/>
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