THE SOVIET PEOPLE AND THEIR SOCIETY, 1917-67 by Pierre Sorlin

THE SOVIET PEOPLE AND THEIR SOCIETY, 1917-67

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This dry, compact, sociologically-minded survey is one of the most useful fifty-year studies. Apart from an initial contention that the old order was not overthrown, it collapsed, the only explicitly political remarks deal with the Party's overall composition, size, and relation to the people. There is no discussion of foreign policy beyond the population's experience of the two world wars; hence Sorlin says nothing about, e.g. the exploitation of Eastern Europe, which would of course bear on his analysis of the economy's steady growth rate since 1956. The book provides a good complement to J. P. Nettl's The Soviet Achievement (1967); narrower and less intellectually exciting. Sorlin is more precise and thorough on his chosen topics. These encompass changing class structures, rural and urban growth, new forms of life-style and organization, as well as new standards of living, with a heavy emphasis on demography. The section on the current scene offers less description and more evaluation. One wishes Sorlin had elaborated his apercus; the Party ""seems to be losing some of its bureaucratic nature""; the rural population is restive; west of the Urals the workers have class consciousness; Russia ""still seems to be living thirty years in the past."" In general, however, the book is relentlessly informative, if bare of footnotes.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Praeger