INSIDE RUSSIA TODAY by John Gunther
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INSIDE RUSSIA TODAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The emphasis is on today -- as distinguished from Stalin's Russia, but today as rooted in yesterday, the Russia of the Czars (In a masterful capsule survey) as well as the Russia of the Revolution and thereafter. The leaders are here, major and minor figures of the politburo and its successor, the presidium; the pyramidal government structure in Moscow -- and throughout the vast reaches of the republics at their different organizational and political levels -- is skillfully analyzed. I don't remember any book that I've read that handles this so concisely. Colorful highlights as a perceptive tourist would see it break the solid factual content, and the cities and their sights come into vivid being. This is Gunther's fourth visit to the Soviet, so from the initiation of the first five year plan on to the Russia of today, he has an unusual breadth of view. Further visits to the satellites. specifically Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia- make possible an interrelation of the Stalin setup- and the present slightly palliative situation, a slight rift evident. Sputnik I and II have inaugurated the Space Age and Russia holds the lead. He challenges our complacent and inept leadership- and the American people- to face the fact that this is an American defeat, and that we must know the what and why in Russia today that is responsible. We must recognize their accomplishments in education, in science, in technology, in a government, dedicated to brilliant, planning. Who or what runs Russia? What are the current trends? Is the New Look genuine? How much of actual Socialism survives? Is peaceful co-existence possible? These questions are boldly approached- and honestly answered; the changes that have taken place are explored; the significance behind the key speeches in tested; the good and the bad of the Stalinist era are taken into consideration; the clues to a new climate of opinion are sought; the importance of the palace revolution weighed. He accepts the evidence that indicates gain of power on the side of the military not as an indication of a desire for war, but of a shift in balance within the top leadership. The factors that make Russia a major factor today- and tomorrow- are summarized cogently; the failures and stupidities takes into consideration. And Gunther in stressing the dangers of losing the peace, urges the steps that Washington should take- and the vital importance in a new viewpoint and a deepening understanding on the part of the American public. This book should provide an important step to that end. Book of the Month for May.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1958
Publisher: Harper