The Soviet in Light Vein

Moscow Carrousel, by Eugene Lyons. Alfred Knopf. 355 pp.

Readers of books on Soviet Russia will enjoy this book by Mr. Lyons. It is different from all the books hitherto written on Soviet life. It does not pretend to be a serious study. It is written in a light, playful tone and makes easy, pleasant reading.

Mr. Lyons spent seven years in Moscow as correspondent of the United Press. During these seven years he came in contact with all phases of Soviet life. He conveys his different and many-sided experiences just as he has undergone them. The result is a colorful collection of the dark and the light sides of life under the Soviet regime. A collection which gives a fine picture of the many angles of Moscow life today.

Jewish readers who are interested in the Jewish angle of Soviet life, will find in Mr. Lyons’s book a few very interesting episodes which throw light on the present situation of the three million Jews in Soviet Russia. There is the former Jewish trader who, despite all the persecutions which he has undergone, is happy to tell Mr. Lyons of the equal treatment which he enjoys in Russia now. Twenty years ago he could not even dream of entering the Czarist capital. Today he is one of the many residents in a Leningrad hotel and fears nobody. He is an equal citizen, is treated equally, and is faithfully devoted to the Soviet regime. Deprived of all his belongings, he nevertheless discovered that he had obtained something which he could not buy for any money under the old regime. He obtained human treatment. He is no longer persecuted in Russia as a Jew.

The book by Mr. Lyons is written with a fine sense of humor. It embraces almost every phase of life with which an American reader would like to get acquainted. It depicts the life of the child and of the grown-up in Moscow, of the foreigner and of the Soviet citizen, of Stalin and of the average worker, of the theatre and of the simple kindergarten. It is a bouquet of short essays on Soviet life, written in a novel and interesting style.

Many of the scenes which Mr. Lyons describes in his book will not be read with enthusiasm b# those who are 100 per cent.pr## Soviet. One feels, however, that Mr. Lyons is honest in presenting the facts. He pictures life in Moscow just as he has seen it, and no foreign observer could see it better than he, who was, day in and day out for seven consecutive years, in direct contact with events in Moscow.

—B. S.

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