Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia (Cambridge World Encyclopedias)

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9780521231695: Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia (Cambridge World Encyclopedias)

More than one hundred specialists treat all aspects of life in the former Soviet Union from the earliest times up to such important recent events as the era of glasnost, the 1991 coup attempt, and economic reform.

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From Booklist:

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.

From Library Journal:

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 Yor.
--Edward B. Cone, New York
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Brown, Archie, Kaser, Michael, Smith, Ge
Published by Cambridge University Press (1982)
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Archie Brown; Michael Kaser; Gerald S. Smith
Published by Cambridge University Press (1982)
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