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Ecocide in the USSR: Health And Nature Under Siege Paperback – July 21, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Demographer Feshbach and journalist Friendly show how 70 years of unregulated industrial pollution have both devastated the Soviet environment and created a host of medical problems that Russia's primitive health service is inadequate to handle. Having turned a vast proportion of its farmland and forests, lakes, and rivers into toxic waste dumps, Russia now has neither the technology nor the money to clean up Chernobyl and the Aral Sea, not to mention the many less-famous disaster areas documented here. There's a hopeful chapter on new citizen activists, but the authors conclude there will be no real progress short of a total cultural transformation. Well written despite some jarring transitions, this will interest many well-informed readers.
- Robert Decker, Los Angeles
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 21, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465017819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465017812
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,856,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Jenkins on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really enjoyable, well-read, well-researched book. I am amazed at how much research went into the writing of it. It is packed densely with facts, statistics, and intelligent assessments and quotes. Not only do the authors manage to accumulate a mountain of evidence in support of their view-- that the former USSR pillaged their environment in the quest for industrial success-- but they also throw in numerous great quotes from writers, scientists, doctors, other persons of interest. Page after page contains some great quote about Russia: one physicist says (I'm paraphrasing) Russia is not a country, not a people, but a thousand year long sickness. Wow, what a quote. It was so interesting and dense with info I wound up reading it twice in a row, starting it again right after the end.

The chapters are divided into broad categories, the logical ones from the point of view of environment, such as water, energy use, medical system, state of the army, etc. The well-known story of the Aral sea is discussed at length. What is striking is to what a degree the government abused the central asian countries, such as Kazakhstan (spelling?) obviously due to a racist bias. In every chapter there are shocking illustrations of ecocide.

I highly recommend it for anyone curious about environmental issues, since the experience they went through in the USSR is basically the result of a complete and total neglect of any kind of enviromental concerns, whether it's radioactive contamination of a lake (toxic waste was actually pumped into the bottom of a lake in one situation, by the army), waste of water resources, inefficient use of energy such as oil, no concern with pollution with mercury etc. into the air, etc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Literate on Lithium on April 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers the ecological damage caused by 70 some odd years of communist mismanagement in the Soviet Union. There are plenty of facts and figures but despite that, the book is a relatively easy read. So easy, in fact, that if you're not careful, you might just get an ecological education.

It should also give pause to any that still believe that handing the ecology to government will fix anything. The Soviets had government like billy hell, and all they managed to do was make uninhabitable cities, turned farm land into salt marshes, and irradiated large portions of Europe. There are also intriguing and thoughtful passages that trace how a small thing creates a big problem, each of them fascinating.

If you are interested in ecology, the ex Soviet Union, or ecology by government fiat, this is the book for you. A better and easier read then the others on the subject I've had to wade through.
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