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The Russians Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 1993

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Mass Market Paperback, 31 Dec 1993

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Getting to know Russia from the inside 29 Oct. 2000
By Lewis Codington - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union a decade ago, I have visited various parts of the former Soviet Union over a dozen times. What astonishes me about this book is that all that Smith reports so closely matches what I have seen and experienced on my visits to the Soviet empire. Though he wrote in the 1970s - long before the collapse of Communism - Smith has captured the essence of the country and its people in a way which is extremely readable and relevant today. It is the best book on Russia which I have read.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Undisputed Classic 20 Nov. 2000
By Maximillian Ben Hanan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's really difficult to find a better book as an introduction to contemporary history. Now that the Berlin Wall has fallen, it's difficult for current generations of American university students to understand what Communism was like. Even current generations of Russian immigrants have difficulty remembering Communism. This book is a link to that history that couldn't be any more brilliant. That is why Mr. Hedrick's books continues to be one of the most commonly assigned books in Russian history and politics classes. The sequel "The New Russians" is updated to reflect the fall of Communism and the current morass (2000) that Russia is in now. Anykind of popular story or joke that I heard then was captured in this book. The best thing about the book is that Mr. Headrick wrote in a way that could be understood by the average American (meaning even my students could understand this book!). If you don't have much of a feel for what life was like in Russia when it was the USSR, then the "Russians" is your ticket to both understanding and getting a feel for life under Communism.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Before the Soviet Union collapsed 18 Sept. 2005
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For many years the world behind the Iron Curtain was a mystery. There were Sovietologists of all different kinds. One famous Daniel Bell essay gave I believe eight or so different basic ways of interpreting the Soviet Union. Hedrick Smith is a reporter and what he did in this outstanding work was to look into the ordinary life of Soviet society as far as he could. He explained then close to thirty years ago many of the anomalies of the system. And when I read the book then I felt I really was getting inside information into a hidden and highly significant world.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An astounding insight of the Russian people during Brezhnov 18 Mar. 1999
By S. R. Skolnik - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hedrick Smith is a modern day Herodotus (sans the tall tale reputation). This is an honest and fascinating look at the reality of the Russian people and what it was really like to live under 'Communism'. By having a first-hand view of the Russian people and the system, Americans can not only recognize how fortunate we are to live in a 'democracy'; but also how alike we are in our human-ness. I am looking forward to 'The New Russians' by Mr. Smith.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Soviet Russia in living colors 4 Oct. 2010
By janya - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The author combines a deep understanding of the people in the Soviet Russia with an easy-going writing style.

This book covers a multitude of experiences foreigners didn't normally get to have in Soviet Russia. As an American journalist who speaks decent(?) Russian, Hendrick Smith both partakes in the Soviet Russia's shiny facade created specifically for Western consumption, and engages into normal Soviet reality, that is, normal for Russian citizens. He and his family meet and befriend people in the true Russian friendships - where secrets are discussed, unorthodox ideas are shared, and yes, lots of vodka is consumed.

And then there are reflections and comparisons and cleverly and generously supplied statistics from official Russian-approved sources and guesstimates by western researchers about the scale of things in Soviet Russia.

This books discusses both Soviet and American propaganda of the 70s, but the story itself is fair and earnest and told by a kind and involved observer.
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