Uncovering Soviet Disasters: Exploring the Limits of Glasnost

James E. Oberg, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-394-56095-3
Among the Soviet disasters covered here are munitions-plant explosions, subway fires, anthrax contamination and nuclear-reactor meltdowns. The survey is wide-ranging; material on civilian airline crashes, for instance, makes it clear that air-safety standards in Russia are low. Oberg (Red Star in Orbit) explores the Soviet government's deep-rooted insistence on secrecy, showing that in the matter of technological safety precautions crucial information has been withheld from the West: he demonstrates that certain accidents that have occurred in the Soviet Union have been needlessly repeated in the West because preventive measures have not been shared. Oberg is cautiously hopeful about the effect of glasnost on the exchange of technological information: ""Once (and if) this trend matures, we can settle down to the serious business of learning from each other's mistakes as well as from our own.'' Photos. Author tour. (February 29)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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