The New Russians

The New Russians

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by Hedrick Smith

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Examines the Soviet Union, assesses the impact of Gorbachev's sweeping reforms on the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens, and speculates about the future of the Soviet Union.See more details below


Examines the Soviet Union, assesses the impact of Gorbachev's sweeping reforms on the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens, and speculates about the future of the Soviet Union.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In The Russians , published in 1983, Smith asserted that fundamental change in the Soviet Union was impossible. Based on his 10 trips to the U.S.S.R. within the past two years, his new book represents an about-face. He hails the current wave of reforms as ``the most extraordinary peaceful revolution of the twentieth century'' and argues that the process of change will sustain momentum--with or without Gorbachev. This riveting, in-depth report has its finger on the pulse of perestroika and glasnost as the Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist travels from Lithuania to Central Asia, talking to industry managers, Armenian nationalists, farmers hit by ecological disaster, TV producers, revilers and die-hard reverers of Stalin. Smith illuminates the struggle between the party bureaucracy and the increasingly liberal Soviet media, which has played a vital role in reshaping public attitudes. Author tour. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In this sequel to The Russians ( LJ 9/15/76), Smith draws on several visits to the Soviet Union since his days as a New York Times correspondent to survey the changes wrought under Gorbachev and the obstacles to further reform. One of the main obstacles, in his view, is the deeply ingrained ``culture of envy'' that discourages the typical Russian from trying to rise above his or her neighbors. Using perceptive character sketches to humanize various social tendencies--the same technique that made The Russians a bestseller--Smith organizes his chapters around general themes (for example, the new role of Soviet television) and provides three chapters on the non-Russian republics. The result is a highly readable, entertaining volume that will probably outlast Gorbachev in popularity. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/90.-- Robert Decker, New York
School Library Journal
YA-- The crucial value of Smith's book on the contemporary Russian ``revolution'' now unfolding under Gorbachev lies in its grassroots, man-on-the-street emphasis. The origins and historical evolution of glasnost and perestroika have been dealt with elsewhere. What Smith does incomparably well is to give readers a look at the national Russian character, based on several remarkable interviews with people of all ages, occupations, and situations. Part of the book deals with the Russian work ethic (``they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work!'') and the chronic inertia and dependency of individuals within the Communist economy. This is a wonderful book for YAs, simply because the ordinary daily activities and frustrations of living in the U.S.S.R. are so vividly and relevantly portrayed. If young people are not deterred by the thickness of the volume and simply dig in, they will find that the reward is well worth the effort.-- Vicki Fox, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

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Random House Publishing Group
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