USSR: A CONCISE HISTORY by Basil Dmytryshn


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Seldom is a title more precisely accurate than this one. The author has managed to cover an amazingly large portion of his enormous subject within small compass; and he has also saved nearly half of his volume for a first-rate collection of truly useful appendices, including the requisite tables, biographical notes on the most important figures, the Soviet constitution in full, party programs, Central Committee decisions, and Khrushchev's de-Stalinization speech. A fine introductory chapter provides at least a definite sense of the complex background to the emergence of the first Marxist government, and the tortuous paths of its domestic and foreign policy ever since are plotted with remarkable lucidity. The final chapter covers the Sino-Soviet split, and hints at Khrushchev's successors. Gaps were certainly inevitable, the interpretations of certain equivocal aspects are open to rebuttal, and the style is humdrum at best; but surely, it would be difficult to locate a handier or more comprehensive one-volume survey.

Publisher: Scribners