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February 24, 1985|HARRY TRIMBORN

Soviet-U.S. Relations: The Selected Writings and Speeches of Konstantin U. Chernenko, edited by Victor Pribytkov, (Prager: $21.95) provides a worthwhile service for Kremlinologists--and insomniacs. It takes a great deal of dedication to keep one's eyelids from falling in plowing through what the editor, one of Chernenko's assistants, calls the thoughts of the current leader of the Soviet Union in its efforts to help the American reader "better understand how the Soviet Union sees the world, what it strives for and what causes it supports." With numbing repetitiveness, laced with the tiresome cliches of Soviet propaganda, this cheaply made, overpriced book tries to show that the Soviet Union is misunderstood by the "Evil Empire" of the West, that it strives for peace and supports the cause of universal brotherhood. Yet, the work has the merit of dramatizing--once again--the deep gulf that exists in the publicly expressed views of the leaders of the two nations that hold the fate of the world in their hands. As such, it is worth the effort to try and stay awake while turning its pages.

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