Clipped From The Guardian
SOVIET RUSSIA The Structure and the Spirit (THE WEBBS' SURVEY A Book that Marks a New Epoch Reviewed by Harold J. Laiki. The Webbs' book on Russia, published published to-day, to-day, to-day, is quite certain to rank among the outstanding achievements of its distinguished authors. It is written on a massive scale, upon the basis not only of persona) exploration but also of n wide and careful scrutiny of the relevant literature in half a dozen tongues. It meets the essential problems fairly arid squarely. While in the main favourable favourable to the great experiment it analyses, it is not written in an uncritical temper ; there are pages, for instance, on the " disease of Soviet orthodoxy " which will, one hopes, be taken to heart in Moscow. All in aii there is no book on the Russian system which remotely compares with it in either insight or intellectual calibre. It ought to mark an epoch in Western understanding of its vital theme. Mr. and Mrs. Webb approach their task from two angles. On the one hand, they provide us with a full analysis of the structure, social, economic, political, of the new Russian. society. Here, perhaps, what is new 13 less principle than detail ; they build with their characteristic thoroughness and efficiency on the labours ot American scholars like Batsell and Maxwell and of that remarkable ami too-Iittle-known too-Iittle-known too-Iittle-known too-Iittle-known too-Iittle-known work in which, over decade ago, Mr. Brailsford gave what is still by far the best explanation of the Soviets at work. The value of Jshi? part of their work lies in its living picture of a structure in action. Whether it is the village Soviet or the people's court, the gosplan or a factory committee, anyone who wants to know now these institutions actually work will find here a full and fascinating account of their operation. The historians historians of English local government have always shown a special gift for seizing the spirit of institutions ; it has never been displayed to better advantage advantage than in these pages.