Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia

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9781934633229: Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia
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From the first publisher granted access to Stalin’s personal archive, a provocative and insightful portrait of modern Russia—the most compelling since David Remnick’s Lenin’s Tomb.

To most Americans, Russia remains as enigmatic today as it was during the Iron Curtain era. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country had an opportunity to face its tortured past. In Inside the Stalin Archives, Jonathan Brent asks, why didn’t this happen? Why are archivists under surveillance and phones still tapped? Why does Stalin, a man responsible for millions of deaths of his own people, remain popular enough to appear on boxes of chocolate sold in Moscow’s airport?

Brent draws on fifteen years of unprecedented access to high-level Soviet Archives to answer these questions. He shows us a Russia where, in 1992, used toothbrushes were sold on the sidewalks, while now shops are filled with luxury goods and the streets are jammed with Mercedes. At the book’s crescendo, Brent takes us deep into the dictator’s personal archives to glimpse the dark heart of the new Russia while on the street and in their homes he finds the enduring strength and dignity of the Russian people. Both cultural history and personal memoir, Inside the Stalin Archives is a deeply felt and vivid portrait of Russia’s troubling place in the twenty-first century. 14 black-and-white photographs

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About the Author:

Jonathan Brent is the editorial director of Yale University Press, where he founded the Annals of Communism series in 1991. He is the coauthor of Stalin's Last Crime, and a frequent contributor to the New Criterion, the Observer, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He teaches Soviet literature and history at Bard College and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Review:

“In a strongly-written, fascinating, and original book, Jonathan Brent interweaves portraits of Russians in their daily lives with an astute analysis of Joseph Stalin’s legacy.” (Philip Roth)

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