An Undisputed Classic, November 20, 2000
By Maximillian Ben Hanan (Sacramento, California, USA) - See all my reviews
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.