In a useful reference on the geography of Russia and the former Soviet Republics, students can find information about the economic, social, and political influences that affect the world around them as it relates to this region. For a country with such power potential and geographical strength, Russia has struggled to regain its status as a great nation since the breakup of its socialist order. Russia and the Former Soviet Republics explores the geographic, historic, economic and international environment in which Russia is operating today, and it looks at important issues that Russia will face for years to come. Some of these issues include whether Russia will support the rise of the European Union or a new Chinese expansion; whether Russia will hold its own sphere of influence from the heart of Earth's greatest continent; and whether Russia can rebuild a system of government that will sustain the survival of its people. Although the old Soviet Union is scrambling to find its center through the debris of political and geographical crisis, its proximity and tradition keep the image of a greater Russia alive. In this one-volume reference, students and teachers of geography will come to know Russia and the Soviet Republics, from the inside out.
Gr 9 Up-Although the relationships between the Russian Federation and other independent states that were once part of the Soviet Union are aptly examined when appropriate, this book is basically a country study of Russia with the exception of a chapter entitled "New Countries on the World Scene." McCray is best when explaining the implications of specific characteristics of both physical and human geography. He also offers some good commentary on the consequences of the economic and political changes in Russia in the last decade. There are two chapters on history, past and recent, and the book closes with a short chapter called "Looking Ahead." The photographs are relevant, but small and not particularly appealing. The few that show women are certainly not flattering, and none include teens or young adults. There is a general map of the region and three topical maps. The writing is generally lucid with just a few ambiguous sentences and typographical errors. Occasionally there is an odd sentence, such as the one about the wealthy Russians whose children visit Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, "just to see how Russian people used to live." Despite the quibbles, this book would be a serviceable addition to most libraries.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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January 31, 2006
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