Books by William G. Andrews

Released: May 15, 1991

Another in this excellent series that shows every sign of becoming a standard, essential book. Confronted with the USSR's staggering diversity, Andrews bravely wades in to survey history, physical and cultural geography, economics, religion, and daily life, plus modern cultural and scientific accomplishments, in meaty—but not numbing—detail. He binds an often colorful narrative (``Stalin's wretched childhood left his heart and soul as twisted and broken as his withered limb'') with recurring themes, most notably that of a continual ``corrosive combination of ideological obsession and inadequate leadership'' that has shown signs of easing, at last, under Gorbachev. His protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, Andrews comes down very hard on the Soviet brand of communism, but he carefully documents what he has to say. Readable, comprehensive, and eminently useful. Frequent boxed asides (not just charts and anecdotes but also jokes, poetry, and song lyrics) add both information and atmosphere; a list of films and pop recordings supplements the fine bibliographical essay. To include 60 b&w photos, maps, and index (not seen). (Nonfiction. 14+) Read full book review >