THE SOVIET FAMILY by David & Vera Mace


Email this review


Though the Maces cite much, both from a recent personal survey of the land and from the past and present palavers of authorities-in-the-field, the study they present of family life in the Soviet Union seems a rather rosy simplification of a complex situation. To be sure, much of the subject matter is intimate and illuminating, if for no other reason than that here we have its first full-length rendering, and the Maces themselves offer a refreshing reportorial sort of sociology. But somehow what they consider the realpolitik of the Iron Curtain, that behind it the welfare state and the police state exist comfortably side by side, is, to say the least, a provocative conclusion, which they, unfortunately, nowhere enlarge upon; the disclaimer is that theirs is an apolitical work. Again, nothing is that simple. Any more. That aside, much else is eye-opening re Pavlov-conditioned citizens and ""work education"", the togetherness of motherhood and Party-hood, the manners, and motivations of Komsomol youth, the challenges of the agrarian collective, the housing situation and shortages, child care, and the concepts of the new socialist man: a scientific humanism, or, more accurately, ideological pep talk. P.S. Sex-wise things are pretty prudish: first film kiss, allowed during the 1956 ""thaw"", created a sensation. No doubt.) A good introductory understanding of the Communist everyday way of life, if not a particularly critical investigation.

Publisher: Doubleday