A VAGABOND IN SOVIETLAND by Harry A. Franck

A VAGABOND IN SOVIETLAND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Under the aegis of Intourist, the author spent 31 days in the USSR, traveling from Leningrad and Moscow to Rostov on the Don, Tiflis, Erivan, in Armenia, the Black Sea, Dnieperstroy, up to Kharkov and out through Kiev into Poland. He went as a ""special tourist"" on the $5 a day rate, in order to get into closer touch -- and smell -- with the great unwashed. The result is another of Franck's travel books -- fluently, carelessly, sometimes slangily written, but easy and entertaining reading. A vivid, though superficial picture of conditions, today. You read of travel, interminable waits, eccentric currency systems, hotels, service, food, ""queues"" on all occasions, the red tape of shopping, the lack of efficiency -- and of certain essentials of comfort, the flies, dust, squalor and in-adequate sanitation. But the Rest Parks are well run; every sixth day is Sunday; babies are well taken care of. Not entirely sympathetic with the Soviet viewpoint, though he avoids discussions of politics, industry and economics. The last two chapters, -- ""Let's think it over"" and ""Coming Home"" are the most thoughtful, and present his theory that Russia is not really practising Communism, but operating between State Socialism and State Capitalism, with Capitalism winning.

Publisher: Stokes