Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (Hoover Institution Press Publication)

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9780817948122: Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (Hoover Institution Press Publication)

An enlightening look into the once-secret Soviet state and party archives that Western scholars first gained access to in the early 1990s. Paul Gregory breaks down a decades-old wall of secrecy to reveal intriguing new information on such subjects as Stalin's Great Terror, the day-to-day life of Gulag guards, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the scientific study of Lenin's brain, and other fascinating tales.

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About the Author:

Paul R. Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow, holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. The holder of a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, he is the author or coauthor of twelve books and many articles on economic history, the Soviet economy, transition economies, comparative economics, and economic demography including Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (Hoover Institution Press, 2008), The Political Economy of Stalinism (2004), Before Command: The Russian Economy from Emancipation to Stalin (1994), Restructuring the Soviet Economic Bureaucracy (1990, reissued 2006), and Russian National Income, 1885 1913 (1982, reissued 2005). He has edited Behind the Façade of Stalin's Command Economy (2001) and The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag (2003), both published by Hoover Institution Press and summarizing his research group's work on the Soviet state and party archives. His publications based on work in the Hoover Institution Archives have been awarded the Hewett Book Prize and the J.M. Montias Prize for the best article in the Journal of Comparative Economics. The research of his Hoover Soviet Archives Research Project team is summarized in part in "Allocation under Dictatorship: Research in Stalin's Archive" (coauthored with Hoover fellow Mark Harrison), published in the Journal of Economic Literature.

Review:

From Newsweek
Since the Soviet archives yielded up vast numbers of newly declassified documents in the 1990s, scholars have been sifting through them to find previously unknown stories or new details that cast well-known events in a new light. Lenin's Brain and Other Tales From the Soviet Archives by Paul R. Gregory draws on the author's experiences presiding over a team of scholars who have mined the Hoover Institution's extensive collection of documents from Soviet state and party archives. The result is an enticingly short (164 pages) sampler of stories from the archives that offer a glimpse into how the Soviet system worked in all its chilling inhumanity, not just under Stalin but also under his successors. This slim book is just the right antidote to the often daunting studies most scholars produce after working in the archives. The hefty books certainly serve their purpose. But Gregory has wisely chosen to reach out to a broader audience by providing a highly accessible primer on the deadly workings of the state that proclaimed itself the workers' paradise. In the process he provides a timely reminder of how quickly a utopian vision can be transformed into a nightmarish reality. --Copyright @ 2008 Newsweek, Inc.

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