Back in my university days I was a student of Russian politics. I can't say that I've gone on to practically apply those studies very much but it has left within me an enduring interest in all things Russian. That interest combined with a fascination for motorcycling obscurities meant that I had to get a copy of Colin Turbett's book just as soon as it came out.
As far as I know this is the only work of any size about Soviet motorcycles in the English language; thankfully Colin has made a decent job of it and done the subject justice. There are 128 pages and the various brands and models are covered along with social history, politics, sport and The Great Patriotic War. What I found particularly delightful is the number of period photos reproduced in the book, these are images seldom seen over here. Equally the reproductions of Soviet advertising material.
What makes the book a success is certainly the background and social aspects more than the machines themselves. The Soviet Union was not noted for the great choice it gave it citizens in either personal freedoms or consumer products and motorcycling was no different. There are only a handful of manufacturers and due to the nature of the planned economy products were of a standard design and many of these were developments of overseas designs such as the DKW R125 and BMW R71.
Colin's interest, expertise and passion for the subject matter is very much in evidence in the book and it comes strongly recommended. Even to those with just a passing interest in Soviet history and motorcycling the book is an enlightening and entertaining read.