Russia Speaks: An Oral History from the Revolution to the Present

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9780060164492: Russia Speaks: An Oral History from the Revolution to the Present
From Library Journal:

Oral histories are indispensable to most surveys of Russian society written since the 1800s, but here oral history is the whole book, as more than 30 "survivors" look back on their roles in the heroism and horror of 20th-century Russia. From Sakharov's mother-in-law to a former White Army officer living in Massachusetts, these voices often succeed in illuminating obscure but fascinating episodes like the postwar crime wave in Leningrad, the 1940 invasion of Finland, and the Soviet involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Lourie, who translated Andrei Sakharov's Memoirs ( LJ 6/1/90), splits up each participant's testimony to make the past 80 years unfold in chronological order and provides some helpful background and commentary. A rewarding book, although the huge, Tolstoyan cast of characters may confuse less attentive readers. Recommended.
-Robert Decker, Los Angeles
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

An old Bolshevik recalls how he risked death by criticizing Stalin to his face. An artist courts charges of "vagrancy" and arrest for the "crime" of being unemployed. A 15-year-old would-be ballerina works 12 hours a day fixing airplanes. Dreams derailed, families dislocated, moral and physical suffering and unsnuffed hope pervade this dramatic oral history of the Soviet Union assembled by novelist, Sovietologist and translator Lourie ( First Loyalty ). One well-known figure--human rights champion Elena Bonner, wife of the late Andrei Sakharov--is among the main characters. These engrossing recollections capture the havoc of civil war, the perpetual paranoia instilled by police-state tactics, the pandemonium of WW II, the overstimulated expectations of the Khrushchev years and the stirrings of glasnost in a country that "must now either be reborn or die."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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