Glasnost Reader

Jonathan Eisen, Editor
Jonathan Eisen, Editor Plume Books $12.95 (46p) ISBN 978-0-452-26321-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Gathering speeches, articles and interviews, this hefty omnibus exhaustively details myriad aspects of Soviet government and society. Khrushchev's 20th party congress denouncement of Stalin, only recently made public, is a notable entry, as are articles from the Soviet press that seriously critique Stalinism and Pamyat--a contemporary, conservative, anti-Semitic nationalist group--or scrutinize glasnost, perestroika, shortages and limited capitalism. Perhaps the most absorbing selections focus on smaller issues, such as the difficulties of purchasing quality TV sets or fashionable clothing. Letters to the editors of leading Soviet publications are rich with humorous vignettes that poke fun at the hardships of Soviet life; the letters' mere existence is a testament to glasnost. The diversity of material is welcome and generally will attract a wide readership, although weak footnoting and introductions render some pieces obscure. Poor translations also mar the text. But the book is worth its considerable weight if only for the inclusion of the transcripts of poet Joseph Brodsky's 1960s trials for ``parasitism.'' Eisen edited The Nobel Reader. (Mar.)
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