U. S. S. R. by Walter Duranty
Kirkus Star

U. S. S. R.

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Oddly enough, there is no conflict here with the four recent books on Soviet Russia, but a careful resurvey of reports on each of them -- plus this report -- should give you a good overall picture of the contribution each makes. (There is Mandel's Soviet Far East -- see P. 92; Dulles' Road to Takeran -- see P. 12; Joesten's What Russia Wants -- P. 15 and Sorokin's Russia and the United States -- P. 93.) Where these books deal with the scope of the Soviet in Asia, the diplomatic history of Russia, the political progress leading to today's interrelation with her Allies -- variously and in differing degrees, Duranty has quite another purpose in his valuable addition to the shelf of books on modern Russia. For this is a contemporary history of the U.S.S.R. undertaken by one who has known her at successive steps, viewed her sympathetically and understandingly, written about her, and never feared to say where he has changed his mind or felt himself previously at fault. Here is no social study, except as he views the changing attitudes of government to the individual, to groups; here is no industrial picture such as Hindus gave us, except as he traces the shift from building for peace to building for war; here is no critical appraisal of the communistic way of life -- rather a reappraisal of what happened, with hindsight correcting his original interpretation -- or misinterpretation of incidents. There is some historical background, where necessary to show how different were the problems Revolution encountered in Russia from what Revolution would encounter elsewhere. There is a brief but telling picture of Russia and the contribution made in the last war. There is searching analysis of the Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin viewpoints, the whys of Trotsky's downfall and Stalin's rise, the compromises, divergences, acceptances of the inevitable in the pattern of a phenomenal rise during 25 years from serfdom to a modern industrial state. The political, economic social and industrial phases are made incidental to the larger comprehension of the U.S.S.R. as an entity in the modern world at war. I found it absorbingly interesting reading. Durany has a gift for simplifying and clarifying without overdoing it. A good buy.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1944
Publisher: Lippincott