During my flight to Moscow recently, I read John Steinbeck's Russian Journal. My daughter had given me the book, thinking, perhaps, that it might inspire me to keep a similar record. I have never been a journal keeper, although I often have wished that I had recorded impressions of situations and people I had encountered on my travels. I didn't keep a journal, but it did make me compare the differences and similarities of my impressions with Steinbeck's. The differences are not surprising, for he wrote of his visit to the Soviet Union shortly after World War II. He observed that the nation had many shortages of farming equipment and other types of machinery, but that the people were tremendously optimistic. They had won the war, and they were then ready to turn their efforts to supplying the needs of a peace-time population.

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