A VIEW OF ALL THE RUSSIAS by Laurens van der Post


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These Russian impressions are about as mild as milk, with a shot of vodka now and then, mostly in the descriptive passages where the author- the noted traveler Laurens van der Post- Warms up to the minarets of Samarkand, Tashkent's colors and cultures, Siberia's forests and rivers, etc. The journey, undertaken recently, is geographically remarkable, extending from the Polish frontier to the Pacific, probably the longest, most diverse trek any non-Communist has ever been allowed to take. The author found the people strong-spirited but sensitive- the USA is the country they measure themselves against- and he is especially revealing in his encounters with the young, or at least the more -garde sort who read Eliot, listen to Bach and jazz, and are apparently as much interested in dialectical materialism as they are in measles. The straitjacketed are also around; egalitarian principles are defensive and depressing: ""what is good for one is good for all""; a certain ""apartheid"" is practiced on the peasantry and collecivization is still a problem; in Georgia or Kharkov, Leningrad or Moscow bureaucracy statues of Lenin are as inevitable as the sunrise. This is an agreeable book and, despite the author's libertarian sympathies, an affectionate one, but quite sub-ective. A pleasant present for beginners.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1964
Publisher: Morrow