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Hindus, Maurice - the Kremlins Human Dilemma, Russia After a Half a Century of Revolution. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc., 1967

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                                                                                  Thomas Roldan

                                                              HIST 320, The History of Russia

                                                                                     Book Examination

                                                                                             May 28, 2016

Hindus, Maurice.  The Kremlins Human Dilemma, Russia after a Half a Century of Revolution. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc., 1967.

Maurice Hindus is a Russian-American author who was born in the Russian Empire, currently Belarus and moved to America at a young age.  He attended Colgate University for undergraduate studies and Harvard for graduate studies.  During the World War II, he served as a war correspondent in the Soviet Union for three years, working for the New York Herald Tribune.  The Kremlins Human Dilemma deals with the growing individualization of the citizen, especially as the Stalin regime pasted; citizens now felt and aspired to live there own lives (page viii).  In 1965 one of the authors friends, a Moscow psychiatrist stated that the age of Stalin was an age of brawn: man was simply a tool of production and only his muscles counted, but the time after Stalin opened up the age of the mind (page vii).  A goal of the author is to discuss the development of the new man in Soviet society and if it was indeed a new man or just a repackaging.

The specific chapters and portion of the book I reviewed talks about the new man of the Soviet Union.  This topic and concept of a new man is not new and was discussed in the twenties with various leaders of the revolution such as Bukharin, Zinovyev, and Trotzky (page 352).  The idea was that this new breed of man would be working and living for society and thereby would be enriching their own lives to a degree never before attained and never attainable under capitalism (page 352).  During a train ride in 1965 from Moscow to Kiev, Hindus and his traveling partner, an artist that was riding with Hindus for the trip, discussed the new Soviet man versus American though.  Throughout the authors travels in the Russia he witnessed Soviet slogans, pamphlets, and books that extol the virtues and achievements of the new man, which pictured a conscious and active builder of communism, a collectivist, and a new communist psychology (page 353).  Then began a great discussion on differing views on American and the Soviet Union.  Maurice Hindus asked the question to his traveling companion if there really was a new man in his country?  The reply was “In our country there is no private enterprise so our motives and aspirations are necessarily different, don’t you think so?”(page 353).  Hindus replied that most Americans don’t engage in business of their own and either work for the federal, state, or local governments or for private companies and or are self-employed (page 353).  The Russian had never been to America or a capitalist country, but believed that the man who had no business of his own lives in an environment that stimulates selfishness and corrupts the better side of his nature (page 354).  Hindus explained that his companion is a painter who sells his canvases to a public institution and that he is a writer who sells his work to a private publisher, so what is the different between us, and the man replied there is no difference between us (page 354).

Though the authors goal in this discuss is that men are generally the same, the new man of the Soviet Union is not new at all, but a man who supports the goals of his country.  American’s are generally the same in that regard; that it is important to support and defend democracy, likewise Soviets support communism.  Although the conversation was very cordial, the companion still believed that the socialized system prevented man from taking advantage of his fellow man and that it was morally superior to a system of private ownership (page 354).  The final question of Hindus was what is meant by the new man and the answer he received was the textbook answer, but nonetheless his belief.  The new man loved his country, Lenin, loves work, loves the Communist Party, loves his collective, holds high the principle of international proletarianism, and is a brother and comrade to his fellow man (page 355).  This was the heart of the authors discussion.  The Soviet citizenry have changed enormously since the revolution nearly fifty years ago and have become literate and mechanically minded while developing new disciplines and have a clearer wholesome physical life (page 372).  But Hindus also believes that the Soviet man is dismally uniformed or misinformed on lives of foreigners, which leads to a lack of understanding on others ways of life.  The conclusions made by the author are generally valid based on his experiences, background, and continuous study of Russia, but also are from an American perspective.  Clearly the Russian and American had differing views on the topic of the new man.  Academically this work is important, especially from a Russian-American human connection perspective.  1965 was during the Cold War and tensions were extremely high between the Soviet Union and America, yet these two men could come together and discuss differing points of view in a peaceful way.

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