The Russians and the Americans

Archer, Jules

_Hawthorn Books / 1975 / First edition

English / ISBN: 9780801565007

Cond. As New / near fine dust-jacket / Hardcover / (#PA0547) / image

A new hardcover with near fine DJ. 1st ed.

220p. 21,5x15cm.

€ 25.00

Archer sees Soviet-American relations as essentially a conflict between grass roots friendship and official suspicion. As he shows here, Russian admiration for American society goes back a long way: Poor Richard’s Almanack went through six Russian editions; Tsar Alexander II felt a kinship for Lincoln (though he criticized him for not giving land to freed slaves); the Decembrists modeled their proposed constitution after our American one; and Soviet leaders, including Lenin, have sought to copy America’s industrial efficiency and innovative technology. In fact, the earlier chapters of this narrative demonstrate that very little is new in Russian-American relationships; in the 1830’s there was a campaign to rescind our commercial treaty in order to pressure Russia into giving exit permits to the Jews, and our belated and temporary friendship for the Soviet government in the ’30’s coincided with American business’ need for trade outlets during the Depression (Archer doesn’t suggest any parallels with the current detente, though they’re not hard to draw). The explanation of the origins of the Cold War given here is revisionist to the point of blaming the whole thing on Harry Truman. . . and later on John Foster Dulles, who hated the Soviets despite Ike’s rather benign opinions to the contrary. Aside from being noticeably un-analytical, Archer tends to underplay the negative aspects of Soviet society, including the purges, and their impact on American opinion. This is, however, a provocative though somewhat simplistic critique of America’s postwar policies. And Archer shows why the Soviets have had good reason to fear U.S. aggression–a viewpoint which should be an eye-opener for youngsters who’ve only heard it the other way around. KIRKUS REVIEW

 

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