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"A standard source both for Soviet specialists and for sociologists of science."—American Journal of Sociology
"Joravsky has produced . . . the most detailed and authoritative treatment of Lysenko and his view on genetics."—New York Times Book Review
Posted January 6, 2003
Joravsky's book is informative though confusing. Though Joravsky's writing style was overly verbose at times, I enjoyed his metaphors to evolution about the very people denying it. He realized his limitations, writing while the Soviet Union was still intact, while archives were still closed. My biggest problem with the book was that at the end, he states his thesis as, "Stalinist irrationality functioned as a wasteful and brutal aid to the modernization of agriculture." (Joravsky, 312) I thought a more appropriate culmination of the points in the book is as follows. Soviet officials latched on to Lysenko's pseudoscience because it promised immediate results, and dealt with practical issues, not intellectual, "bourgeois" theory, as genetics and plant physiology do. Soviet officials did not gravitate to Lysenko because they thought it would help them breed a population of perfect communist people; that popular notion originated in the West.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.