The Soviet Family. David and Vera Mace. Hutchinson, 30s.

‘Whatever else Marxism is, it has proved to be the most powerful movement in support of women’s rights that has ever risen in the course of human history.’ Thus the Maces on coming face to face with Soviet woman. This book was undertaken as a serious sociological study of the Soviet family. In fact it is a sympathetic journalistic account of civil and social life in the Soviet Union as it appeared to an English marriage guidance expert and his wife, daughter and guitar-playing friends, who spent a summer camping and driving about the main cities of western Russia and the Ukraine. They have conscientiously read all available English-language books on Soviet society and have asked many questions of the relevant officials. So they have come to appreciate the strong points of the Soviet constitution in regard to sexual equality, divorce, abortion, and similar enlightened matters; and saw for themselves the close Russian family and love of children. They do touch upon some important points: the history of the gradual formalization of marriage from the early post-revolutionary days of free marriage to the Code of 1944 obliging registration, culminating in the present Wedding Palaces where canned music and Soviet champagne are laid on; the related fluctuations and difficulties of official policy on segregation of student hostels by sex and on abortion; and the extent and nature of the opposition to the liberalization of women and the methods used to combat this—both in the Soviet Union and China. Norman Dombey