Book Review: The Soviet State and its Inception, Our Ally: The People of Russia, Eleven Years in Soviet Prison Camps, Soviet Politics—The Dilemma of Power

Published date01 September 1951
Date01 September 1951
DOI10.1177/002070205100600311
Subject MatterBook Review
242
INTERNATIONAL
JOURNAL
THE
SOVIET
STATE
AND
ITS
INCEPTION.
By
Harry
Best.
1950.
(New
York:
Philosophical
Library.
vii,
448
pp.
$6.00
U.S.)
OUR
ALLY:
THE
PEOPLE
OF
RUSSIA.
By
William
A.
Wood
as
told
to
Myriam
Sieve.
1950.
(New
York:
Scribner's.
Toronto:
Saunders.
xii,
288
pp.
$4.00,
members
$3.20.)
ELEVEN
YEARS
IN
SOVIET
PRISON CAMPS.
By
Elinor
Lipper.
1951.
(Chicago:
Henry
Regnery
Co.
Toronto:
Saunders.
viii, 310
pp.
$4.75,
members
$3.80.)
SOVIET
POLITICS-THE
DILEMMA
OF
POWER.
By
Barrington
Moore
Jr.
1950.
(Cambridge,
Mass.:
Harvard.
Toronto:
Saunders.
xviii,
503
pp.
$8.00,
members
$6.40.)
Eye
strain
is
the initial
effect of
the
present
tension
between
the
Soviet
State
and
the
West
as
millions
of
words
roll
off
the
machines
in
an
unending
stream
of
print.
Heavy
black
headlines snatch
up
the
eyes,
smaller
type
shuttles
them
back
and
forth
down
through
the
long
columns,
and
finally
they
are
delivered
over
to
the
fine-point footnotes
which give
them
a
finishing
blur.
The
mental
strain
follows
a
similar
course.
We
are
struck
with
simplicities,
overwhelmed
with
details
and
then
left
in
a
fine
confusion
of
hypotheses.
The
books
mentioned
above
may
be
regarded
as a
short
reading
course
in
Russian
politics
selected
in
the
interests
of
good
eyesight
and mental
clarification.
The
works
should
be
considered
in
the
order
given.
Dr.
Best
is
a
university
professor
who
has
an
added tinge
of
authority
through
a
visit
to
the Soviet
Union.
His
book
may
be
regarded
as
a
primer
of
Russian history
with
special
emphasis
on
the
last
twenty-five
years.
It
is
neither particularly
good
nor
bad.
It
is
written
with
great
academic
caution, and
bloodless
circumspection.
If
one
has
a
fair
idea
of
Russian history
this
book
may
be
omitted from
the reading
list.
If
one
needs
a
"refresher"
course
this
book
may serve
the purpose
provided
the
other
books
are
also
read.
William
A.
Wood
was
a capable,
mature
American
metallurgical
engineer
when
in
1930
he
entered into
a
three-year
contract
for
employ-
ment
with
the
Soviet
Union.
With
one
or
two
interruptions
he
spent
some
twelve
years
in
that
country.
From
his
narrative,
which
com-
prises
the
book,
Mr.
Wood
appears
as
a
forthright
honest
man.
The
fact
that
he
was
somewhat
politically
naive
makes
his
evidence
all
the
more
valuable.
He
simply
described
the
impact
of
the
Soviet
system
as he
experienced it,
and
his
attempts
to
apply American
methods
as
best he could.
He
even
tried
his
hand
at
a
"pep-talk"
to
the workers
in
his
factory,
combining
American
fervour
with Soviet
propaganda,
to
the
delight
of
his
superiors.
As
a result
of
his
experience
Mr.
Wood
developed
a
deep
regard for
the
people
of
Russia
along
with
a
detestation
for its
governmental
system.
This
apparently
explains
the
title,
Our
Ally.
Mr.
Wood
does
not suggest
how
a
working
alliance
can
be
made
with

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