The Soviet Union Today: A Concise Handbook

The Soviet Union Today: A Concise Handbook

The Soviet Union Today: A Concise Handbook

The Soviet Union Today: A Concise Handbook

Excerpt

Anyone bringing forth another book on the Soviet Union ought to explain his temerity, for the last decade has seen a flood of such books. Furthermore, many of them have been of high quality. This very outpouring, however, is the main justification for the present work. A single book summarizing many of the findings of numerous scholarly monographs may help answer the need of the nonspecialist, bewildered by the plethora of material on the Soviet Union.

This book, unlike many of its more scholarly brethren, breaks no new ground, advances no unique point of view, and does not attempt to treat any one subject exhaustively. It is, as its title states, a handbook. It is intended for the person seeking an introduction to things Soviet, for the busy citizen who wants a brief exposition of what makes the Soviet Union tick.

The process of condensing the many facets of Soviet life that go to make up today's Russia carries a built-in pitfall -- the distortion of reality. I hope, however, that the over-all picture that emerges will be near enough to the real Soviet Union to answer the needs of the general reader.

Some readers may object to the rather large amount of history that seems to have made its way into a handbook on the Soviet Union of today. The justification is simply that Soviet institutions, ideology, and dynamism are inexplicable without some conception of the milieu within which they have evolved, and that the historical traditions of pre-Bolshevik Russia have played a leading role in the shaping of events in the last forty years. Moreover . . .

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