The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett

The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett* – Comrades and Allies during WW2. The book is very clear and really interesting, so I gave it a very well deserved 4 stars. I recommend it too because it offers an interesting perspective over the UK-USSR relations. The only thing I was bothered about was the pro-Soviet feel, which was disturbing for someone who actually lived under a dictatorship. It is a shame that he didn’t ask some people who lived under the Iron Curtain how it really was. The Soviets, as he said, were correct to distrust the west, and I agree with that, but the west too was very correct to distrust the communists.

The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett

I think Turbett did not fully understand how Eastern Europeans felt under Soviet occupation, which is what it was. Towards the end of the book he says:
“The social security enjoyed by Soviet citizens seemed a poor price to be paid for lack of choice, the absence of western “freedoms” (including the inequalities that went with them) and empty shelves in the shops. This was felt even more markedly in the satellite countries of Eastern Europe that had come under virtual Soviet control by the end of the 1940s. Repression there was more marked and in some, like Poland, the regime detested by most citizens.”

Well… for many in Romania communism was not detested, but hated with an ardent passion. There was no freedom, without ironic sneer-quotes: my parents faced imprisonment for reading Orwell’s books, smuggled by someone else who also faced imprisonment. Food was bought on the black market, electricity and heat was cut during the 1980s, in cities, in winter time, when temperatures get to -10 or -20. As for inequality, communist countries had only equality of outcome, everyone lived in what is the equivalent in UK of a poorly designed council-owned flat, without a living-room (as in, a family of four could live in a 1-bed flat), everyone could buy from only a few designs of clothes because that was all that was available. Nobody could have their own style, own opinions, could be themselves (gay/lesbian), could read the books they wanted or listen to the music they wanted… everybody knew that someone (a neighbour) could denounce them to the Securitate (secret police) and they could end up in jail (at best). So, no, communism was not only detested and this is why people died trying to swim across the Danube (risking being shot in the back by the Romanian military) and others died on the streets during the 1989 revolution. Also, communists didn’t win the elections in the 1940s in Romania, they stole it, something that emerged after the revolution.

While I was bothered by what I mentioned above, the book touches on a lot of fascinating aspects from the inter-war relations and the alliance during the war. A couple of remarks like the one above do not greatly influence how the book is, but it influenced the rating I was willing to give, hence why I wrote about this.
The information is presented clearly, as I mentioned before, I liked the use of primary sources and there are lots of pictures, dotted throughout the book, which is great. I felt I learned from the book and this is why I recommend it.

The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Military
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History – 20th century
Pages: 248

About the author: A keen motorcyclist and social historian, Colin Turbett is the author of Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR 1939-1990 (Veloce) and Playing with the Boys – Olga Kevelos Motorcycle Sportswoman. During his career as a social worker and frontline manager he had a number of academic papers published alongside two books: Rural Social Work Practice in Scotland (Venture Press 2010) and Doing Radical Social Work (Palgrave Macmillan 2014). He has long held an interest in the history of the Soviet Union and its people. This is his first book for Pen and Sword.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



4 thoughts on “The Anglo-Soviet Alliance by Colin Turbett”

  • We quite often discuss how it seems that capitalism is becoming more and more broken in the UK, but I have to admit that the alternatives are not too appealing either! My father was a Socialist and if we could achieve Socialism in its purest form, then we might not be too badly off. However I can never contemplate Communism without thinking of the line from George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”!

    Thanks for sharing although this probably isn’t one for me 🙂

    • The only system that worked so far is capitalism. We are all better off, with options and opportunities. It’s not perfect, but we are not perfect, so no system would be perfect. Socialism goes against our competitive nature, so any attempt would lead, sooner or later to communism.

  • I don’t think this is really a book I’d want to read, but I appreciate getting your personal input regarding living under communism.

    • It is quite a specific topic indeed. Life under communism was so very different, it is both hard to explain and to understand the full extent without living in it, albeit for a short while.

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