In This Review

Big Brother: The Soviet Union And Soviet Europe
Big Brother: The Soviet Union And Soviet Europe
By Hélène Carrère d'Encausse
Holmes & Meier, 1987, 332 pp

In its general course, as in its dramatic episodes of crisis, Soviet policy in Eastern Europe has been the subject of a voluminous literature. This overview, first published in France in 1983, covers the four decades since Yalta and breaks no new ground, but it is a most excellent narrative and synthesis, blunt and ruthlessly objective, always focusing on how successive leaders in the Kremlin saw their vital interests in their European empire and determined their priorities and limits of tolerance in the face of changing conditions and unanticipated challenges. In a twist that seems uncharacteristic, the author credits the Soviets with notable success in measures of integration, as if to suggest that the problem of nationalism has been solved for good and all. A brief epilogue, written in mid-1987, has been added for this edition.