Richards, a British journalist, film producer, and one-time student of Solzhenitsyn, offers an eloquent narrative of her encounters with Soviet citizens, and ambivalent insights into the impact of glasnost and perestroika on ordinary Soviet people. Americans tend to view Gorbachev's reforms as an unqualified good. By contrast, Richards's conversations with Soviets demonstrate the exhilarating but disorienting effect of democratization upon people who have lived under a totalitarianism that deprived them of the right to think for themselves or to learn their own history. In the beginning, Richards repeatedly expresses amazement at the apparent irrationality and senselessness of much of Soviet society; ultimately, she finds the explanation for this quality in the distorting effect of official ideology on the thoughts and behavior of the Soviet citizenry. Richards describes the peculiarly Russian mixture of idealism and cynicism prevalent throughout Soviet society, and the alarmingly vicious anti- Semitism embraced even by intellectuals to explain the atrocities of the Soviet era. Her portraits include an affecting depiction of Andrei, who although initially xenophobic and suspicious, gradually warmed to her as he learned she was not a ``class enemy'' after all; Pavel, an Orthodox ``Old Believer'' who insights into the paradoxes of Soviet power were more accurate than those of more ``contemporary'' Soviets; and Kukobaka, the dissident whose internal exile was a disturbing reminder that ``thoughtcrime'' is still an offense in the Soviet Union. Thoughtful and beautifully written portraits of Soviet people in a time of radical change.

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-82743-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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