Gr 4-8-- A precisely written, well-organized presentation. Clark briefly discusses the Russian Revolution, the formation of the Soviet Union, the events leading to its dissolution, and the joining together of 15 nations to form the Commonwealth of Independent States. Historical, geographical, and cultural background is given for each of the republics, with Russia and the Ukraine receiving the broadest coverage. A concluding chapter examines the political, social, and economic problems facing the Commonwealth and indeed the whole world as foreign policies are readjusted. Full-color photographs of the people and their culture and vignettes about individuals add interest. Issues and problems are objectively discussed with an emphasis on the idea that ``only time will tell'' how things will finally be resolved. The only elements lacking are a pronunciation guide and the countries' flags. --Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA
Janice Del Negro
Part of the Headliners series, this summarizes events in the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which was created from 15 republics following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. A coherent distillation of a complex and timely topic, it includes an abbreviated history of the region, from the czars to the decline of communism, with a more in-depth look at the three founding members of the commonwealth (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine) and brief histories of the other 12 member countries. Nicely designed, with generous white space, color photographs, and maps with explanatory notes, the book also includes colored boxed insets that address topics of special interest, such as Gorbachev after the coup, the Baltic republics, the Soviet legacy of environmental disaster, and the "selling" of former Soviet scientists. With a chronology of events from June_ 1991 and suggestions for further reading, this timely update of a fluid political situation is a necessary addition to school and public library collections.