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Russia - Lenin, Stalin Etc


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#1 oilcan

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 06:50 PM

Hi,

Firstly, I thought you might want to know I am wanting to study History at university next year :D

I have had a new History teacher, and for A2 OCR we're doing both of the units on Russia (unit 2591 and unit 2589*). As I don't know anything about Russia, and I will be getting to grips with this teacher's teaching style (has never taught A Level History, has a degree in Sociology and Geography :blush: ), I want to make sure I can get to grips with the basics by doing some extra reading outside classes. (For pleasure and quest for knowledge also).

What resources could you recommend me, which are easy to understand and read?

Thankyou

Nicki

* Unit 2591 (Themes) - Russia from 1856-1956, Key Themes in Russian History
Unit 2589 (Investigations) - Interpretations/Schools of thought on Lenin and the Bolsheviks 1900-1924

#2 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 07:30 PM

Hi,

Firstly, I thought you might want to know I am wanting to study History at university next year

That's good to hear. :)

I have had a new History teacher, and for A2 OCR we're doing both of the units on Russia (unit 2591 and unit 2589*). As I don't know anything about Russia, and I will be getting to grips with this teacher's teaching style (has never taught A Level History, has a degree in Sociology and Geography ),

You sound a bit worried about this and I understand why, but I am sure your new teacher will do their very very best for you - and of course you have a good AS result behind you and can ensure that you do your very best with the Personal Study too. Both things will enhance your chances of a good overall result.

I want to make sure I can get to grips with the basics by doing some extra reading outside classes. (For pleasure and quest for knowledge also).

What resources could you recommend me, which are easy to understand and read?


Has your new teacher issued the textbooks you'll be using for the A2 Units yet? If not then the following are good places to start:
Posted Image
Reaction and Revolutions: Russia, 1894-1924 (Access to History Series.) by Michael Lynch (Paperback - 27 May 2005)
A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes This is a great read though not a school textbook as such.

However I guess you may be starting your course with the 2591 Unit and I'll need to ask someone else about recommendations for that so check back here for more ideas, won't you?


* Unit 2591 (Themes) - Russia from 1856-1956, Key Themes in Russian History
Unit 2589 (Investigations) - Interpretations/Schools of thought on Lenin and the Bolsheviks 1900-1924



#3 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 08:45 PM

For Unit 2591 try:

Flood P. Russian Dictatorship 1855-1956. Unit 2591, OCR A2 History. Student Unit Guides, Philip Allan Updates (2003) 0-86003-745-2 ... more of a Revision Guide really but still good and double check that any advice given about the format of the exam will actually still apply in June 2007.

Evans D. & Jenkins J. Russia & the USSR 1851-1991. Hodder (2001) 0-340-78949-2

Corin C. & Fiehn T. Communist Russia under Lenin & Stalin. Schools History Project, John Murray (2002) 0-7195-7488-9 ..... doesn't cover the whole period but an excellent textbook

For Unit 2589 - as well as the books previously suggested:
Lee S. Lenin & Revolutionary Russia. Routledge, Questions & Analysis in History (2003) 0-415-28718-9

Marples D. Leninís Revolution: Russia 1917-1921. Longman Seminar Studies 0-582-31917-X

Of course, if you have never studied Russia at all before then pretty much any GCSE textbook on Modern World History will have chapters on the Russian Revolution, Lenin and Stalin (though probably not before that) which would provide an easy introductory overview.

or you could look through the Russia section of Mr Clare's excellent Modern World History site beginning here:
http://johndclare.net/Russ1.htm
Although it only covers the years 1917 - 1941 it does have some excellent links often to more advanced material on the right hand side of each page.



#4 oilcan

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:06 PM

Corin C. & Fiehn T. Communist Russia under Lenin & Stalin. Schools History Project, John Murray (2002) 0-7195-7488-9 ..... doesn't cover the whole period but an excellent textbook

This is one of the ones which we had to get. I am also using "Russia, 1855-1991, From Tsars to Commissars" by Oxley. I am going to try and get hold of the Access to History book as I really like their style.

I'm feeling sort of confident about my Personal Study - I am just hoping I can write a good essay!

Change of subject, but any tips about writing a personal statement if you're wanting to study History. I've written most of mine, but not sure whether it needs more about History.

Thanks for your reply :D

#5 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:42 PM

Corin C. & Fiehn T. Communist Russia under Lenin & Stalin. Schools History Project, John Murray (2002) 0-7195-7488-9 ..... doesn't cover the whole period but an excellent textbook

This is one of the ones which we had to get. I am also using "Russia, 1855-1991, From Tsars to Commissars" by Oxley. I am going to try and get hold of the Access to History book as I really like their style.


The Access to History books aren't all that expensive; it will be available on the Amazon site and should also be on the bookshelves of any big bookshop such as Waterstone's. Such as store would also be able to to order it for you.

I'm feeling sort of confident about my Personal Study - I am just hoping I can write a good essay!


Just make sure that:
it's sharply focused on your question
you plan it logically
you develop a well supported argument
and that above all, you evaluate critically the interpretations of the sources (primary and secondary) that you use.

Change of subject, but any tips about writing a personal statement if you're wanting to study History. I've written most of mine, but not sure whether it needs more about History.

Thanks for your reply :D


Well, put yourself in the shoes of a History Dept Admissions Tutor. What sort of student would you want in your Dept?? Primarily someone enthusiastic about the subject, I would suggest. So make sure that your personal statement conveys your enthusiasm and provides evidence of that (briefly) if you can. Oh ... and check what you have written for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. ;)

Apart from that ... I assume there is someone at school responsible for guiding you through all this process and vetting what you have written. Ask their advice too.

#6 oilcan

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 04:35 PM

Another book I have to buy :D (My English teacher just found a book on the Salem Witch Trials for me!)

I really do like the Access to History series, I know the school has it, so will try and borrow it.

I did try for work experience, but couldn't get any (and I tried both in my area and in Bath)

Our school is rubbish, they haven't any help for Oxbridge candidates, and haven't guided us at all. I think the Sixth Form tutor will be able to help me though.

#7 oilcan

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 04:36 PM

PS - With the personal study, I definitely will be analysing! I am doing an interpretation question so a lot will be about the context and similarities and differences and why this could have occurred. :)

#8 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 04:55 PM

Another book I have to buy (My English teacher just found a book on the Salem Witch Trials for me!)


Ah well, there's a lifetime of book buying ahead of you if you are going to 'be a historian' [Tip: When you are at Uni. always try to buy second hand. There will be Noticeboards crammed full of book offers from students who are 'ahead' of you.]

I really do like the Access to History series, I know the school has it, so will try and borrow it.

You can save some money there then.

I did try for work experience, but couldn't get any (and I tried both in my area and in Bath)

That's a shame.You mean that none of the Bath Museums would have you? I'm a bit surprised at that. Ah well ....

Our school is rubbish, they haven't any help for Oxbridge candidates, and haven't guided us at all. I think the Sixth Form tutor will be able to help me though.


I'd have thought any school would be keen to promote the ambitions of keen and able Uni candidates. (If only because of the pressures of league tables and the like B) ) If I were in your shoes I'd just ask for what you want; there has got to be someone at school with responsibilty for guiding you so don't take no for an answer.


PS - With the personal study, I definitely will be analysing! I am doing an interpretation question so a lot will be about the context and similarities and differences and why this could have occurred. :)


That's good to hear .... and try hard to evaluate the different interpretations (ie be critical of what you read - explain why you consider one interpretation to be better/more convincing than another - rather than purely analysing.)

There's a difference, do you see?

#9 oilcan

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:45 PM

Yes I do see. For instance I could say that a book written by a Puritan minister about the trials was very definite that the accused were guilty because of things like a) there was no other explanation at the time (very limited science and technology), it would be what people would expect him to say, it was an explanation he would believe in.

I could then say another person believed it was ergotism (poisoned rye) and explain that.

However, I could say that the first one was more convincing as the second one could maybe have not considered other factors, with sketchy evidence and the second one also had hindsight and other historical opinions which they could gain influence from. Is that right?

I will try and buy second hand (my current History textbooks are), but this book is newly published, so I'll be forking out the £8.99 I think.

No, nothing! I have a friend who lives near Bath and was going to visit him. I tried all the museums I could find in Bath and some in Salisbury. The main reasons were that they didn't do work placements, or they were full or they didn't have enough staff or I wasn't 18. I did get 2 offers from places, but one museum was moving home so I would have just been packing boxes, and the second was to be like a steward in this house, but I wouldn't have known anything about the house!

Well, I will keep plugging away, but nothing has been that useful so far. If you're interested, so far I am keen on Cambridge, Durham, York and Sheffield

#10 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:02 PM

Yes I do see. For instance I could say that a book written by a Puritan minister about the trials was very definite that the accused were guilty because of things like a) there was no other explanation at the time (very limited science and technology), it would be what people would expect him to say, it was an explanation he would believe in.

I could then say another person believed it was ergotism (poisoned rye) and explain that.

However, I could say that the first one was more convincing as the second one could maybe have not considered other factors, with sketchy evidence and the second one also had hindsight and other historical opinions which they could gain influence from. Is that right?


In general terms .... yes. That's the right idea. In addition it will be good for you to follow such analysis and evaluation with an overall judgement of your own, but I am sure you realise that.

I will try and buy second hand (my current History textbooks are), but this book is newly published, so I'll be forking out the £8.99 I think.


Not too expensive then, though you might try a public library first - just to see whether you really do think the book will be worth splashing out on.

No, nothing! I have a friend who lives near Bath and was going to visit him. I tried all the museums I could find in Bath and some in Salisbury. The main reasons were that they didn't do work placements, or they were full or they didn't have enough staff or I wasn't 18. I did get 2 offers from places, but one museum was moving home so I would have just been packing boxes, and the second was to be like a steward in this house, but I wouldn't have known anything about the house!


Oh dear. That is a shame, but maybe you can think of other ways of demonstrating your genuine interest in History in your Personal Statement .... eg books you have read outside the confines of the syllabus? places you have visited that have captured your imagination? a particular historian/author who has fired your imagination?

Well, I will keep plugging away, but nothing has been that useful so far. If you're interested, so far I am keen on Cambridge, Durham, York and Sheffield


All good/excellent History Faculties. Just make sure that you are fully conversant with the courses they offer and if at all possible try to go to Open Days.(May be difficult I realise since they are all quite a long way from what I gather is your home)

#11 oilcan

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 05:18 PM

I'm in Leicestershire, but I've been to Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, York, Durham for open days and going to Warwick soon.

So far in my Personal Statement I've focused on the Salem Witch Trials and my personal study but I need a paragraph devoted to A Level History, but I can't think of anything half decent at the moment

#12 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 05:55 PM

I'm in Leicestershire, but I've been to Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, York, Durham for open days and going to Warwick soon.

Sensible of you to get a 'feel' for all the places like this.

So far in my Personal Statement I've focused on the Salem Witch Trials and my personal study but I need a paragraph devoted to A Level History, but I can't think of anything half decent at the moment


All you need to do is to highlight a few parts of the course that you have found particularly interesting and to say why.

You might also comment on the intellectual benefits you feel you have gained (eg. more politically aware?, developed research skills? greater awareness of what History is 'about'? all >>>>> desire to take the subject further)


#13 oilcan

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:13 PM

Thanks Mrs Faithorn - I think it is getting there :) Thanks for all your tips though, if I get into Durham (the place I like most at the moment) it'll all be worth it.

#14 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:45 PM

All the best with your application then. You must let us know how it all goes.

#15 oilcan

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:12 PM

I will do - if I get any offers at all, I'll be ecstatic! Can I ask for some advice though? I am predicted AAA, and for AS I got AAAAB (1 mark off an A, one unit being retaken), and in the subjects I am doing for A2, I got AAB for those at AS. (Sorry, being very long winded here).

So far I am definitely applying to:
Cambridge - AAA
Durham - AAA
York - AAB

I have gone off Sheffield a bit, and also considering Nottingham, Warwick, Lancaster. But how low should my insurance offer be? I can't see myself getting BBB, but is ABB too high? I need some advice, as I have a few AAB universities, and it depends how many of those I pick.

Also, do you know anything about Nottingham University for History?

Don't know whether you know, but in class we've been using a great website (activehistory.co.uk), and this activity (http://www.activehistory.co.uk/Miscellaneous/free_stuff/yr12_russia/frameset.htm) has been really useful in understanding Russia :)




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