RED PLUSH AND BLACK BREAD by Marguerite Higgins


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An alert journalistic flair and a Guggenheim fellowship combined to make the Herald-Tribune's Maggie Higgins as successful a penetrator of the Iron Curtain as we have had. There have been, perhaps, more penetrating analyses, but few have seen as much (she travelled some 13,500 miles) or braved as many rebuffs successfully to talk to the little people, and to get photographs. She visited not only Moscow, but the Ukraine, Siberia, Soviet Central Asia. She visited factories, collective farms, homes. She talked to some key people, including Gromyko. She drew conclusions- not always encouraging ones- about the ""rift"" in the curtain, the ""softening"" of the policy. She presents her conclusions not only in regard to the standard of living (she feels they are still choosing bombs rather than bathrooms), the achievements (too many to be ignored), the curiosity about foreigners, the suspicion, the leniency towards a small degree of fraternization. But she warns succinctly against acceptance of outward pleasantness for inward softening. Russia still aims towards priority as a world power. We must still keep the West stronger; we must not expect to ""win friends -etc.""; we must spell out agreements in detail; we must not expect truth or consistency; we must not use humanitarian motives as an argument. This is a revealing study.

Publisher: Doubleday