The author of They Were Expendable is assured a big market for this book, in spite of the fact that those who feel the...



The author of They Were Expendable is assured a big market for this book, in spite of the fact that those who feel the importance of friendship and understanding with Soviet Russia will find it distasteful and badly timed. To that audience to whom Soviet Russia is a menace and a danger, this book will bring support of their arguments, intensification of their reluctance to acknowledge that any good thing can come out of Russia. For W.L. White has used this opportunity -- his report on his observations when he accompanied Eric Johnston to Russia -- to belittle the achievements, sneer at the methods, and lose no chance to make invidious comparisons. The very fact that he is a superb reporter makes this approach all the more unfortunate. Many will term it ""realistic"" -- ""objective"" -- ""unbiased"". He has seen Russia as her guest, visited her factories, her agricultural centers, her towns and cities and villages, her battlefields (though not at the actual front, which is part of his plaint). And he makes rare and grudging tribute, arguing that Russian lack of efficiency, lack of cleanliness, lack of streamlined modern methods is hampering the war effort. He makes no concession to the telescoping of experience into a few years, no recognition of the miracle of reversing the processes of a backward nation. The identification of the people, the workers, the leaders, the men and women in uniform, with the motherland is defined as the sort of cooperation we could get from the residents of a prison. Rarely he yields a bit of approbation, but almost invariably qualifies it. Surely, it would have been possible to make this a critical survey, throwing light on the failures of Russia to achieve freedom of thought and action, and yet give tribute to the tremendous steps taken, the contribution made by sacrifice of progress toward freedom to the end that the war be won...Eric Johnston has proved that a generous estimate is possible, without sacrificing his own ideals....A substantial part of this material has appeared in The Reader's Digest.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 1406749303

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1945