Volume 12 11, No.2 - Summer 1965
Editor of this issue: Thomas Remeikis
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1965 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Book review:

Paul L. Horecky, ed. RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION. A Bibliographic Guide to Western-Language Publications (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1965). 473 pp.

This is another addition to the growing number of reference works on Russia and the Soviet Union. The editors define the scope of this bibliography in these terms: "This guide focuses on writings in the major Western languages, with emphasis on English-language publications; titles in non-Western languages are included only when they provide bibliographical access to publications within the scope of this work. The natural sciences and technology are not within the scope of this book, although works on the socio-political, research, and organizational aspects of these disciplines are represented. While the bibliography is meant to embrace temporally the whole broad sweep of past and present, the accent is on more recent times and imprint dates, generally up to the beginning of 1964" (p. IX). Actually this compilation differs from other similar bibliographies in its emphasis on English-language publications. It is for this reason that the bibliography is a very useful tool not only for the specialist but also for the non - specialist.

The entries are classified into "broad fields of knowledge which are subdivided into more specialized categories as they relate to the area" (p. IX). Indicative of the breath of the subjects covered are the titles of the nine parts of the book: General Reference Aids and Bibliographies, General and Descriptive Works, The Land, The People, The Nations: Civilizations and Politics, History, The State, The Economic and Social Structure, The Intellectual and Cultural Life. In other words, the bibliography is a comprehensive survey of materials on the Soviet Union, especially on Russia. Entries for each category or even subcategory were compiled by recognized authorities in the field. A total of 31 American scholars are listed as contributors. The editor himself, Paul L. Horechy, is eminently qualified, with vast experience in bibliographic work and as Assistant Chief of the Slavic and Central European Division in the Library of Congress.

A total of 1960 entries are listed. The compilers felt it necessary to include not only the reference sources properly so termed, but also better known monographs, critical studies, and periodicals dealing with various areas and problems of the Soviet Union. Most of the entries are annotated with valuable comments as to the content and quality of the works. Such commentary, no doubt, on occasion reflects to some extent the subjective predispositions and individual evaluations of the work by the compilers, but on the whole are excellent aids, especially to the non-specialist.

The editor's attempt to treat the Soviet Union as a multinational state is of special interest. Part V — The Nations: Civilization and Politics — is devoted to materials on the national question as well as on the peoples in the Soviet Empire. Within the scope of the bibliography this section is quite limited and unsatisfactory. Only 18 pages out of 473 are devoted to the nationalities of the USSR. Such modest recognition of a rather important aspect of the nature of the Soviet Union is indicative of two things: on the whole, there is a general tendency among American scholars to depreciate the multi -national nature of the Soviet state; on the other hand, English-language materials are rather scanty in this area, again reflecting perhaps the low interest in the question. Of the nationalities included in the bibliography only the Ukrainian sub-section can be said to give a fair selection. The other peoples in the Soviet Empire (except Ukraine and the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) are recognized by only ten entries. In our view this is a major shortcoming of the otherwise excellent reference work.

To illustrate the above comments let us take a look at the materials in the section on the Baltic States. There are a total of 27 entries for the Baltic States. The available excellent works on the Baltic certainly suggest the inadequacy of the selection. In fact, it is more relevant to indicate not what has been included but rather what has been omitted. To name just a few excellent works which certainly should have been cited: Stanly W. Page, The Formation of the Baltic States (Cambridge; Harvard U. Press, 1959); Alfred Bilmanis, Latvian-Russian Relations: Documents (Washington, D.C.: The Latvian Legation, 1944); not a single one of the available histories of Lithuania is included in the selection; House Select Committee on Communist Aggression, Reports and Hearings on Baltic annexation by the Soviet Union contain a wealth of materials on these countries. This list could be extended quite extensively. Such glaring omissions just cannot be justified by economy of space.

Thomas Remeikis 
St. Joseph's College,
East Chicago, Indiana