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

Richard Lourie, Author Edward Burlingame Books $25 (396p) ISBN 978-0-06-016449-2
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.'' (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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