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The Cambridge encyclopedia of Russia and the former Soviet Union /

Other Authors: Brown, Archie, 1938-, Kaser, Michael Charles., Smith, Gerald Stanton.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1994
Edition: 2nd ed.
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Review by Choice Review

This revised and enlarged edition of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union (CH, Sep'82) includes a considerable amount of new textual material and numerous new illustrations and updated maps. The list of contributors has grown, the thematic coverage has expanded, and the focus is now on the last ten years of Communist rule and the post-Soviet period. Despite the second part of the title ("the Former Soviet Union"), the work deals only cursorily with the non-Russian Soviet republics and the new independent states. The volume is divided into 13 major subject fields, each subdivided further either topically or chronologically. A glossary and an index facilitate the use of this encyclopedia. The bibliography has also been substantially updated. What is lacking, however, is an up-to-date general map of the new political configurations. The two maps prominently placed inside the front and back covers display Russia in 1913 and the Soviet Union in 1989. Considering the scale of changes in Russia/USSR since 1982, the low price, and the attractive appearance of this encyclopedia, no academic or public library should be without it, for it will serve well the needs of both general readers and undergraduates. L. Siegelbaum; Michigan State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Referred to in the preface as "a successor volume" to the 1982 Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union, this work has the unenviable task of covering the many changes that have occurred in the world's largest country while not ignoring the earlier history that shaped it. Two of the editors from the earlier edition remain (Archie Brown and Michael Kaser, both from Oxford) and of the 132 contributors listed in the opening pages of the volume, 83 worked on the earlier work. Like other volumes in the Cambridge Encyclopedia series, this one is arranged thematically (history, cultural life, the sciences, etc.) rather than alphabetically. The editors acknowledge that "while there are a number of entries--for example, on earlier Russian history and literature--which are carried over from the previous book, the greater part of the text is published for the first time." The volume covers events through the elections of December 1993 that catapulted Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Liberal Democratic Party into the spotlight. Not surprisingly, the section Politics underwent perhaps the most change, though updates are evident throughout the volume. The only oversight spotted by the Board is the lack of any mention in Sciences section of the Vega 1 and Vega 2 spacecraft that photographed Halley's Comet in 1986. Perhaps the most noteworthy change to this volume is its visual appeal. Although the earlier work had several color illustrations, the present volume has close to 500 of its more than 700 illustrations in color. Many illustrations that appeared in black and white in the previous edition now are in color. The Art and Architecture section of the 1982 volume, for example, featured 45 black-and-white and 34 color illustrations. In the new volume, the same section has only 10 black-and-white and 86 color illustrations. Even charts--such as one on Indo-European languages--that were black and white in the old edition look more appealing in the new with the addition of color. Another noteworthy change is a variety of sidebars that concentrate on famous individuals and stand out nicely from the accompanying text. Boris Yeltsin, Aleksandr Rutskoy (Yeltsin's vice president), and Andrey Gromyko are among the individuals featured this way. The work concludes with a brief glossary (primarily to initialisms and acronyms used), a 10-page up-to-date bibliography, and a detailed index--which fortunately no longer appears at the front of the work, as it did in the 1982 volume. The Cambridge Encyclopedia provides an excellent summary of Russian history and present politics. Readers looking solely for information about Russia today will be somewhat disappointed, as there remains a sizable amount about the Soviet Union and Russian history in general, but the editors make clear that this is the intent of the work. All public and academic libraries should welcome this reasonably priced, superbly illustrated volume. (Reviewed Feb 15, 1995)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Taking the pulse of the world's largest country (in area), this exuberant one-volume encyclopedia is bursting with up-to-date facts and photos. Organized by its Oxford-based editors around broad topics like the country's peoples, history, cultural life, and physical environment, it emphasizes recent and contemporary issues, with a special focus on the Gorbachev era. A visual treat, it is enhanced by numerous illustrations, many of them in color and often occupying half a page to a page. In addition to the abundant charts and graphs, boxed inserts effectively break up the text while covering a range of topics: e.g., Napoleon's retreat, the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, and the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl. Also featured are biographies of important personalities (e.g., Trotsky, Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn, and Yeltsin). The numerous color maps that cover such areas as energy production, political flash points, election results, and ethnic distribution are especially useful and attractive. Despite the title, the emphasis here is on the Russian Federation and historical Russia, not the other 14 republics of the former USSR. Although it is too soon to predict just how the former republics will variously sort themselves out as they adjust to independence or rejoin a new union, this volume offers as clear a viewing as any before the dust settles. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. [For a reference covering the former Soviet republics overall, see Stephen K. Batalden and Sandra L. Batalden's The Newly Independendent States of Eurasia, LJ 11/15/93.-Ed.]-Edward B. Cone, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.