BEHIND THE URALS by John Scott
Kirkus Star

BEHIND THE URALS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The new angle on this book on Russia is the fact that this is neither the record of a journalist nor a diplomat, but of a worker, who tells of the effort that ent into the dream of what was to be the ""biggest continuous mine to rolling mill metallurgical combine in the world"". The author learned welding in America so that he could get a job in the Soviet Union; he arrived at Magnitogorsk, in 1932, covers the impossibilities of the early years there, -- the lack of labor, supplies, materials, trained workers, food; the incredibly bad living conditions; the inhuman labor conditions, starvation, freezing, brutality -- all to the end that the railroad, the dam, the blast furnaces and the coke and melting ovens be built. He does research during his work into the immense mineral deposits to be mined, into the origin of the project, what the actual construction work was and how it was organized, what part was played by foreign specialists. He tells of trips to Sverdlovsk and its heavy machine works; to Chelyabinsk and its tractor plant. He married a Russian, Masha -- they both work and study together -- they have two children. Eventually he shifts over to chemical works. A trip home -- a return to the Soviet to find no work during the 36-37 purge of foreigners. The improvement of living conditions and production under the Stahanov movement. Finally after delays -- a return to America with his family...A balance of enthusiasm, devotion, record of work against confusion, disorder, stupidity, the microcosm of the long years of ""blood, sweat and tears"" during the Russian people's advance. Good propaganda for wider appreciation of what the Soviet has achieved, underlying the whys and hows of the Russians as good allies, while not minimizing their weak points of character and performance. Specifically of interest to technical men, but with so much of the human aspects that even those who cannot understand the technicalities will find it good reading.

Pub Date: June 24th, 1942
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin