Alan Sillitoe spent the month of April 1963 in the Soviet Union, travelling to Moscow, Leningrad, Volgograd (Stalingrad), Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, and the new Siberian city of Bratsk – where the greatest dam in the world had been built across the River Angara.
The author gives his impressions of the country and what he sees as he travels across the great spaces of this seemingly endless land. He connects his observations to the immediate historical past. He wanted, he said, to go around the country like an old-fashioned traveller, armed with a dictionary, guidebook, compass and detailed maps of the regions he expected to cover.
He met and spoke to many people. He saw something of the reconstructed Russia and of the mighty development going on in Siberia. The climax of his travels was when he witnessed the gigantic May Day parade from Red Square.
Out of his notes he has made this fresh and vivid narrative, the first book on the subject to come from a young English writer.