Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia

Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia

by Jonathan Brent
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Philip Roth
“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.”
Martin Walker
Brent's engaging memoir, Inside the Stalin Archives, reveals as much about the grim realities of post-Soviet life and bureaucracy as it does about the archives themselves. Equipped with little Russian and few contacts, but with an almost palpable sense of decency and honest intentions that illuminate his book, Brent explains for the general reader as well as for specialists how he went about his work in the new Russia.
—The New York Times
readrussia.com
The author is careful to make neither heroes nor villains of the ghosts he summons from the archives, incorporating flawed personalities into stories of unthinkable justice.— Katya Tylevich
The New York Review
In the first part of his engaging and well-written memoir, Inside the Stalin Archives, Brent tells the story of the [Annals of Communism's] genesis. He conjures up the Moscow of the early 1990s, a time when the Russians were struggling to recover from the loss of the old certainties following the collapse of the Soviet system and adapt to a market-based economy.— Orlando Figes
Cynthia Ozick
“Inside the Stalin Archives is a necessary report from the Soviet netherworld of totalizing injustice that ought to have been universally known throughout the greater part of the twentieth century—when it could not have existed. Jonathan Brent’s discoveries will shake and shock and indispensably enlighten.”
readrussia.com - Katya Tylevich
“The author is careful to make neither heroes nor villains of the ghosts he summons from the archives, incorporating flawed personalities into stories of unthinkable justice.”
The New Criterion - Gary Saul Morson
“Brent seized a unique opportunity that, if not for him, would doubtless have been missed….[H]is book shows us the conditions—moral, personal, and material—that Russians take for granted but which are utterly unlike anything Americans have ever experienced.”
The New York Review - Orlando Figes
“In the first part of his engaging and well-written memoir, Inside the Stalin Archives, Brent tells the story of the [Annals of Communism's] genesis. He conjures up the Moscow of the early 1990s, a time when the Russians were struggling to recover from the loss of the old certainties following the collapse of the Soviet system and adapt to a market-based economy.”
Simon Sebag Montefiore
“A fascinating, subtle, and finely written quest into the Russia of today through the dark labyrinth of history. Brent unveils not only the secrets of his journeys into Soviet Archives, but also a unique yet personal portrait of an enigmatic country and a blood-soaked century.”
New York Times Review of Books - Martin Walker
“Brent's engaging memoir . . . reveals as much about the grim realities of post-Soviet life and bureaucracy as it does about the archives themselves. Equipped with little Russian and few contacts, but with an almost palpable sense of decency and honest intentions that illuminate his book, Brent explains for the general reader as well as for specialists how he went about his work in the new Russia.”
Katya Tylevich - readrussia.com
“The author is careful to make neither heroes nor villains of the ghosts he summons from the archives, incorporating flawed personalities into stories of unthinkable justice.”
Gary Saul Morson - The New Criterion
“Brent seized a unique opportunity that, if not for him, would doubtless have been missed….[H]is book shows us the conditions—moral, personal, and material—that Russians take for granted but which are utterly unlike anything Americans have ever experienced.”
Orlando Figes - The New York Review
“In the first part of his engaging and well-written memoir, Inside the Stalin Archives, Brent tells the story of the [Annals of Communism's] genesis. He conjures up the Moscow of the early 1990s, a time when the Russians were struggling to recover from the loss of the old certainties following the collapse of the Soviet system and adapt to a market-based economy.”
Martin Walker - New York Times Review of Books
“Brent's engaging memoir . . . reveals as much about the grim realities of post-Soviet life and bureaucracy as it does about the archives themselves. Equipped with little Russian and few contacts, but with an almost palpable sense of decency and honest intentions that illuminate his book, Brent explains for the general reader as well as for specialists how he went about his work in the new Russia.”

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934633229
Publisher:
Atlas
Publication date:
02/22/2010
Pages:
340
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Philip Roth
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.
Simon Sebag Montefiore
A fascinating, subtle, and finely written quest into the Russia of today through the dark labyrinth of history. Brent unveils not only the secrets of his journeys into Soviet Archives, but also a unique yet personal portrait of an enigmatic country and a blood-soaked century.
Cynthia Ozick
Inside the Stalin Archives is a necessary report from the Soviet netherworld of totalizing injustice that ought to have been universally known throughout the greater part of the twentieth century—when it could not have existed. Jonathan Brent’s discoveries will shake and shock and indispensably enlighten.

Meet 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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >