Books: New Thinking

THE NEW RUSSIANS

by Hedrick Smith

Random House; 621 pages; $24.95

When Hedrick Smith finished a three-year reporting stint in the Soviet Union in 1974, he did not even dream of writing this book. In fact, he wrote a very different one: The Russians, a best seller that depicted a Soviet society mired in lies, corruption and fear. He was convinced, he recalls in The New Russians, that "fundamental change was impossible."

His miscalculation, like that of so many other Western correspondents, was to focus on the dissidents who protested in public and largely to ignore the disaffected millions of Soviet...

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