In this volume Professor Gella provides some much-needed background to what is going on in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in this era of glasnost' and perestrojka. For, the social-historical makeup and sociological parameters of the Eastern bloc continue to influence how the Soviet Union deals with its client states--both in theory and in practice. Success in these enterprises depends as much on what the Bloc looks like as on what the Bloc is.
Professor Gella undertakes a difficult task when he tries to analyze, in non-Marxist terms, a set of problems that have been thoroughly misanalyzed by innumerable Marxist-Leninist authors. This is done expertly in the case of the notions of 'class', 'intelligentsia', and even the very notion of ' Eastern Europe'. Professor Gella does this by knowledgeably combining the presentation of historical data with sociological analysis that calls on the best available sources. The maps in the appendix provide invaluable aid for the former task, while the bibliography fills the reader in on the latter.
Clarity on the past and present of key Soviet client states will, it can be hoped, help us to understand the possibilities and pitfalls of the Soviet policies of glasnost' and perestrojka. What is more, Professor Gella's non-Marxian approach to what is generally called 'class analysis' constitutes a refreshing contrast with that of Marxist-Leninist dogmatists and under-informed Western sociologists. It is how Marx himself, pace Lenin, might have approached the subject.
THOMAS J. BLAKELEY*
PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT BOSTON COLLEGE____________________