THESE ARE THE RUSSIANS by Richard E. Lauterbach
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THESE ARE THE RUSSIANS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Those who felt on reading White's Report On The Russians that if ""books are bullets"" he was supplying bullets against our allies, will find in this book the other side of the same picture. For Lauterbach was one of the four correspondents who accompanied Eric Johnson and his party, who saw the same factories that White criticized so adversely, and met many of the same people, and heard many of the same conversations. But where White apparently went in with chip on shoulder, daring anyone to knock it off, and came out with a bigger chip, Lauterbach bears witness to the extraordinary facts of achievement, he reports also the full awareness of the Russians as to the failures and shortcomings, but he understands what is involved -- plants moved great distances and set up in makeshift buildings, lack of equipment, a new generation of workers with no background of industry. Lauterbach writes fully of things White ignored, -- of the policy towards minority groups, of the impressive development in brief span of years of backward Central Asia, of rapid strides made towards restoration in devastated areas and the cooperation between sections far apart, of the realistic point of view taken by Moscow in regard to aid to processes of reconstruction, with services first, then factories, then homes, and the emphasis on the individual housing units instead of group housing. He writes too of education -- of combatting disease -- of child care. He feels that Russia's socialist structure is what has saved her, and points to the growth of the Communist Party, its new and progressive leadership, the attitude towards religion and the church as evidence of the dynamic quality of the system. His report on the Katyn Forest scandal presents arguments pro and con, without drawing final conclusions. He writes feelingly of the murder mills at Maidanek, and Lublin. Dramatic use of anecdotal material and human stories, of pictures of Petrov and Leningrad, of Moscow, of Odessa. Pen portraits of the Soviet leaders, -- particularly Stalin, Molotov, Zhukov, Novikov, Pokryshkin. And -- in answer to the question as to what is back of Russia's victory, he quotes Petrov:- ""Russia rose above the chaos of war...and subordinated itself to the war..."" He feels that Russians have lived beyond the period of mass acceptance, have learned to think, to take initiative, to depend upon their native versatility. In his final chapters he summarizes the fears under which the Soviet operator fears of our attitudes, and distortions, our lack of realism, etc. We must learn to look beyond the labels, to reexamine old prejudices. We must learn to work with Russia.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1945
Publisher: Harper