In This Review

Report on the Russians
Report on the Russians
By W. L. White
Harcourt, 1945, 309 pp

This book has raised a tremendous controversy among the critics of two continents. Bill White, son of the late William Allen White, has established a reputation as a perceptive and sensitive reporter in such books as "They Were Expendable" and "Journey for Margaret." The present volume is the fruit of the author's six weeks' trip through the Soviet Union in company with Eric Johnston, President of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Unhappily, when White went to Russia he did not possess that knowledge of the country's history or the readiness to understand what he saw which alone would have made him a reliable reporter. Though most of his facts are probably true, or at least have the appearance of truth, he has managed in their selection to convey a distorted picture of Russian life today. Perhaps this is due in part to naïveté and provincialism, though the reader cannot but suspect that it is in part due to the author's unwillingness psychologically to meet the Russians half way. It is only fair to say that White's general attitude of deprecating the drab primitiveness of Soviet life is reminiscent of the way foreigners viewed his own Middle West not so many years ago when it, like Russia, was suffering from growing pains.