SOVIET RUSSIA by John Lawrence


Email this review


Measured against the plethora of recent books on the Soviet Union, past and present, this fares badly: good geographic delineation is vitiated by a map that does not indicate either political boundaries or topographic features; the history (half the book) both in the earlier and Soviet periods is so oversimplified and condensed as to be almost meaningless; the sensational is served forth disproportionately (regarding 1920-1950, there are paragraphs on the purges and other repressive measures, not a single accomplishment); in the second half, attention to current concerns is also disproportionate (an eight-page chapter on religion, a few disconnected paragraphs on education); often the sequence of topics is random and the chapter headings fail to indicate contents (under Cities; people generally, language, education, government); further, only proper names are indexed and the table of contents lists only chapters; the many photographs miss the chance to illustrate (no houses or apartments with descriptions thereof) and are sometimes senseless (a picture of ducks labelled ""privately owned poultry on a collective farm""). Altogether, no use for reference and the few good features -- a first-hand feel from quotes, some handshaking acquaintance with people -- fail to make it worth reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1968
Publisher: David White