MixedForeign AffairsTo a Russian ear, Halberstadt’s stories sound conventional and even a bit clichéd: his descriptions of Soviet poverty, humiliating shortages, pervasive censorship, ubiquitous lies, and the late Soviet infatuation with Western pop culture are all familiar. A Russian reader is sure to catch a few inaccuracies. In the end, during a quiet fishing trip in a faraway Russian province, the author develops a kind of awkward affection for his father. He does not become any more Russian, but he leaves Russia a wiser man.
PositiveForeign AffairsSmith tells the story of how the American Relief Administration rescued Soviet Russia when it was struck by the worst famine Europe had ever known. Based on rich archival materials, his book focuses on a group of young Americans who set off for Russia, lured by the exotic and the unknown, and found themselves in the middle of a horrific tragedy ... Rare photos included in the book lend Smith’s account an eerie vividness.
PositiveForeign AffairsPollock has produced a rarity: a work of solid scholarship that is also an elegant page-turner. It traces the history of the Russian steam bath all the way back to the Middle Ages, exploring how its image and function have shifted over time.