In This Review

The Last Empire: Nationality and the Soviet Future
The Last Empire: Nationality and the Soviet Future
Edited by Robert Conquest
Hoover Press, 1986, 406 pp

This composite work is more than the usual collection of papers done for a conference and then thrown together for publication. Its value lies, first, in its comprehensiveness, as it attacks the subject from many angles; second, in the quality and repute of the authors, whose contributions are up to their usual high standards (the roster includes Hugh Seton-Watson, Leonard Schapiro, Milovan Djilas, Frederick Barghoorn, Alexandre Bennigsen, Donald Treadgold, Robert Conquest, and some talented younger scholars). In general the treatment of Russian nationalism seems more profound, if also more speculative, than that of the non-Russian nationalities. All agree that the nationalities problem has been widely misunderstood and underestimated in the West, especially the degree to which it is changing the character of the Soviet polity. But the "last empire" is not about to dissolve.