Submitter: Out of date and a B&W format. What could be more appealing in a YA book? I am loathe to buy hardcover contemporary biographies because they are out of date by the time they hit library shelves. This book circulated once, twenty years ago, and most likely it was for the required biography book report. My library also has another title in the series on Anwar Sadat. They are both going to book purgatory. From the collection of [a] middle school.
Holly: This book was published in 1986, before any of the most important aspects of Gorbachev’s career as a world leader happened. It’s perfectly reasonable for a middle school library to have a book about Gorbachev, but it should really tell the whole story of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Fun facts: Gorbachev appeared in a Pizza Hut commercial in 1997, and also recorded an album of Russian ballads in 2009. (Source)
Submitter: Russia is a big topic in the news right now, so I’m sure there are people looking for books about it. My public library has a massive section on Russian history and politics…nearly all of it from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The biggest gem was this book predicting that the USSR would be destroyed in a nuclear war with China. Even the books about earlier Soviet history are hopelessly out of date. In the past 25 years, we’ve gained access to all kinds of sources that weren’t available during the Cold War. Go update your Russian history sections now, comrades!
Holly: But it’s historical! Just kidding.
Love the Red Scare titles. This book is directed at high school students and presented in a question and answer format. (Reminds me of the way the Baltimore Catechism is set up, coincidence? hmmm) ALB has quite a few that have graced our website and every time I think everyone knows that the Soviet Union has undergone a few changes in the last few decades, yet another public library hangs on to one of these relics from the past. Of course this is worthy material for academic libraries and archives. But this has no business being a teen nonfiction collection in a modern public library or a school library. Every time I find one like this on the shelf I cringe at the idea of a teen running across this type of title and probably concluding that they don’t “know” anything or “have” anything. Okay. Whining done for now.
I did love looking through these pages and pictures and the helpful advice about identifying those crazy communists.