School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 9 Up-In her introduction, Corona articulates well the aspirations and failures of the communist system in the Soviet Union and the challenges facing Russia today. She then gives a lucid presentation of the background of the Russian Revolution. A survey of the Soviet Union from its founding in 1922 to its collapse in 1991 focuses mainly on Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev with an emphasis on domestic issues. One odd omission is even a mention of World War II in the section on Stalin. However, an eloquent description of Shostakovich's concert during the Siege of Leningrad begins the chapter on arts and entertainment. There are also chapters on the economy, politics, and daily life. A few minor errors appear in these sections. It is incorrect to suggest that communal apartments were "encouraged by Communist leaders" because it "made spying on one's neighbors easier," when they were due to severe housing shortages. A map of the former Soviet republics, now independent countries, is mislabeled "Russian Republics." The writing and selection of examples to illustrate points are generally good, and interesting sidebars focus on topics related to the narrative. The black-and-white illustrations are serviceable. Michael Kort's Russia (Facts On File, 1995) is a more comprehensive study, but Corona's book is a good, short introduction to the Russian Federation.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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