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A Handbook of Slavic Studies provides the literary and scholarly public for the first time with a one-volume guide to the geography, ethnology, history, and literature of every Slavic country. The collection of twenty-eight chapters—or monographs—is written by a group of eighteen specially selected scholars, each of whom has an authoritative and often personal interest in his subject. The result is that now the literature of Poland, for instance, or Czechoslovakia, emerges for the American reader as the genuine expression of its people’s culture. Particularly noteworthy is the chapter on Soviet Russian literature by Ernest J. Simmons, the account of Czechoslovakia’s tragic struggle for political freedom by Joseph Hanč, and the excellent analysis and prognosis about the Soviet Union by Jesse D. Clarkson. The most casual reader cannot help gaining insight into the Slavic world, and the earnest student and scholar will find the book an almost inexhaustible fund of facts and sources.
Each chapter, organized with straightforward clarity, has its own bibliography of non-Slavic sources arranged to help the reader in his further exploration of any category of Slavic culture. The chapters, which are roughly chronological in organization, trace the histories and literatures of Russia, Poland, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Dalmatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Yugoslavia, and the Ukraine. Leonid Strakhovsky’s detailed chronological table at the end of the book gives a graphic picture of the parallel historical developments in the major Slavic countries. In planning the book and in dovetailing the chapters, he has succeeded in molding the diverse subject matter into a harmonious and comprehensible whole.