Imagining America: Influence and Images in Twentieth-Century Russia

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( 6 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780742527928: Imagining America: Influence and Images in Twentieth-Century Russia
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In Imagining America, historian Alan M. Ball explores American influence in two newborn Russian states: the young Soviet Union and the modern Russian Republic. Ball deftly illustrates how in each era Russians have approached the United States with a conflicting mix of ideas--as a land to admire from afar, to shun at all costs, to emulate as quickly as possible, or to surpass on the way to a superior society. Drawing on a wide variety of sources including contemporary journals, newspapers, films, and popular songs, Ball traces the shifting Russian perceptions of American cultural, social, and political life. As he clearly demonstrates, throughout their history Russian imaginations featured a United States that political figures and intellectuals might embrace, exploit, or attack, but could not ignore.

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About the Author:

Alan M. Ball is associate professor of history at Marquette University and the author of Russia's Last Capitalists: The Nepmen, 1921-1929 and And Now My Soul is Hardened: Abandoned Children in Soviet Russia, 1918-1930.

Review:

Highly respected U.S. scholar Ball is mainly concerned with Russian attitudes and borrowings regarding U.S. technology and culture, but he also deals with Russian perceptions of the U.S. economic and political system and of American life in general. His excellent book is divided into two sections, 'The Early Soviet Period' and 'The Contemporary Era,' but it also briefly touches on the period between these two eras and flashes back occasionally to 19th-century opinions of the U.S. Ball's analysis is balanced, and he provides many useful statistics. Recommended. All levels and libraries. (Choice Magazine)

The most important strength of the book is its simultaneous evaluation of responses from both the masses and the elites to the American artifacts and techniques. Ball also deserves appreciation for his examination of everyday media, ranging from movies to tractors. He has an exceptionally thorough and captivating writing style that maintains the reader's full attention throughout the book. All of these aspects render the book extremely interesting and easily accessible to readers at all levels who will take it up either for a class or for leisure. (Burcak Keskin-Kozat)

Engaging. (The Russian Review)

An imaginative and significant contribution to the history of modern Russia, Ball's study adeptly synthesizes important currents in contemporary Russian culture. It should appeal to all readers who are interested in how Soviet (and post-Soviet) Russians have grappled with the challenges imposed by modernity while attempting to maintain a national identity of their own. (Palmer, Scott W.)

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