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THE book on Soviet hockey,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Red Machine (Hardcover)There are some cases where you only need to read one book to know all there is to know. This is one of those cases. Martin writes thoughtfully and sensitively across decades that changed the world, and his readers come away with their feet firmly planted on the ground, whereas previously they were swimming in the air with all the hearsay that bloomed from the mysticism that was Soviet hockey. This book should be worth 10 stars.
Martin's key point is that in the years previous to WW2, the Soviets played a brand of "Russian hockey," which was somewhat like field hockey on skates. In a monumental move, they then decided to drop this beloved game of theirs, and focus on what they actually called "Canadian hockey," which was the game as the rest of the world plays it. In a brilliant discussion, Lawrence describes how the Soviet hockey that grew out of this blended the best aspects of both games to produce something very special. This book is about more than just a sport. It is about how one aspect of a nation illustrated and paralleled the whole as it sought success in all the avenues that a world power could participate in, flawed as it was from the inside.
If one does wants to read further, I would recommend 'Road to Olympus,' by Anatoli Tarasov. Tarasov was the father of Soviet hockey, and his book, also no longer in print, makes a good mirror to Lawrence's masterpiece, written as it was from the other side of the pond. As well, Ken Dryden's semi autobiography 'The Game,' has an equally brilliant hypothesis on "the secret" of the Soviet's success.