Kirkus Star


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Last month Macmillan published The Voyage of the Chelyuskin, a symposium composition, telling the story of the attempt to navigate the Northwest Passage. History in the making, and a record of human accomplishment, presented, not as the story of one eye witness, but of many who actually shared in the adventure. Now comes another example of group composition -- the account of the construction of the canal between the White and the Baltic Seas, as told by 34 Russians who shared in the labors. It is a brilliant piece of work; one cannot tell where one writer ends and another begins; where on interpreter is sympathetic, or another antipathetic, to the Soviet regime. There is a sense of shared experience, shared challenge not only to conquer the opposing forces of nature and time and hardship, but to conquer and remold man. To me it is the most convincing evidence I have yet found of the actual reforging of a people -- and yet one does not sense it as propaganda in the telling. It is good reading -- and stimulating, from the angle of human interest, social progress, economic and industrial and scientific achievement and sheer adventure. There is humor and philosophy and drama in the writing.

Publisher: Smith & Haas