RUSSIA 1917 TO 1964 by J. N. Westwood

RUSSIA 1917 TO 1964

Email this review


This book embraces all aspects of Soviet history -- political, economic, military, social, and cultural -- from the Revolution of 1917 to the fall of Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. And it does so in little more than two hundred pages. The subject is of course massive, but with compression and brevity its author has written a lucid and lively history directed to the general reader and the introductory courses rather than to the professional specialist. Judged in these terms, the book takes its place with the best available texts in its field. It is a clear, balanced, and objective chronicle of Communist Russia, although Dr. Westwood, until recently an English university lecturer, points out the obstacles to adequate presentation of modern developments. The text is well written, logically organized, and interestingly presented. Nowhere does the author's scholarly caution lead him to withhold his own informed and judicious opinions where these are in order. His general thesis is critical, but sympathetic: ""Those responsible for Soviet policy were honestly striving to build an entirely new type of society in a country which was shattered and underdeveloped, and whose population was backward and inert."" Dr. Westwood's point of view, his analyses and conclusion -- although subordinated to the presentation of known facts -- are intellectually stimulating and challenging to preconceived ideas. It will be valuable for teachers and give the average reader a far more balanced picture of the Soviet Union today than he possesses at present.

Publisher: Harper & Row