A few days ago I finished reading the first volume of R. W. Davies's The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia. While it wasn't the most gripping read, I found his description of the development of Soviet economic policy very interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading the other volumes.
It also left me thinking about the volumes that preceded it. Davies's series is a continuation of a 14-volume "History of Soviet Russia" started seven decades ago by Edward Hallett Carr, who regarded as one of the great historians of the twentieth century. Until now I haven't been much interested in reading such a fine-grained study of the first decade of the Soviet Union, but Davies's book piqued my interest, and over the past couple of months I've been keeping an eye out for some of the Penguin paperbacks as possible additions.
Then I saw this:
I'm not so clueless about myself so as to not appreciate the visual appeal a series of books has on me, which is why I know that the moment I lay my eyes on a picture of this set my interest in buying them was cranked up to 11. The primary deterrent now is the cost: the $450 price for which I found them has certainly given me pause. So at this point I'm alternating between sober assessments as to whether I would ever actually read all of these volumes and rationalizations as to how these books definitely fit the criteria of a "forever purchase."