THE NEW WORKER IN SOVIET RUSSIA by Irving R. Levine

THE NEW WORKER IN SOVIET RUSSIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Levine, a well-known Kremlinologist and now Washington correspondent for NBC, makes a folksy survey of Russian workers since Peter the Great. The book is occasionally inaccurate (Lenin never led the 1905 Moscow Soviet), occasionally interesting (documentation of the increase of free labor over serf labor in factories), occasionally murky (the February Revolution of 1917 is attributed to the ""inexplicable"" psychology of the crowd), and almost always superficial. We are told that Russian workers -- like most of their countrymen -- are a robust, warm, emotionally outgoing people, although they smile only when there is a genuine reason. . . . Russians love to sing, and their songs are the deep-throated, heart-tugging variety ""that only a people who have suffered can create."" What is meant by ""New Worker"" is unknown; most of Levine's sources are at least a decade old, and little attempt is made to calculate present laboring class living standards or review historical trends. Charts showing work time required to buy certain consumer goods list only commodities that cost far less in the U.S., excluding such items as rent, medical care, vacations, education, books and entertainment. There are plenty of solid Russian histories available, and for factual information about workers in the Soviet period Pierre Sorlin's The Soviet People and Their Society (1968) is far better. An entry in the ""Russia Old and New"" series.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1973
Publisher: Macmillan