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A tourist's view of Russia written with a skill and depth expected of the author, known to us for her engaging professionalism. Technically tourists, the Bowers entered Russia with a view to Faubion's writing on theatre and Santha's on- well- Russia! The ministrations of Intourist pushed aside, except for the discovery of Dostoievsky's apartment, they approached the people without previous introduction, finding the gardens of ""culture and rest"" a good contact-place. From the Leningrad of today they sensed the yesterdays of Pushkin and Peterhof and learned of the mark the siege of 1941-44 had made on the people. In Moscow, they became more than tourists, turning acquaintances to friends, interviewing people of the theatre, discovering the life of the privileged... and of the students and workers. Everywhere the author finds significant clues to the lives of the Russians -- in their dramas and reactions to them, in the women's magazines, denoted by class, in the distress of a young friend over his mis-marriage, which he dares not dissolve and thereby incur a black mark in the Party that may mar his career, in the generosity to Jai as a child, in the Bolshoi promenade. In Uzbekistan, open to tourists as a showplace of communizing, where donkeys cost only a dollar because they have been banned, the Bowers viewed new and old Tashkent, ruminated over the ruins of Samarkand. And as they turn homeward, the reader has the joyous sense of encounter, of having met many people from all walks of life, not through a remote doctrinaire catalogue but face to face. A far country has been brought closer by a lively guide.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1959
Publisher: Harper