Thank You, Comrade Stalin!: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$31.72
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$23.91
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $13.93
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 62%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $13.93   
  • New (6) from $18.98   
  • Used (8) from $13.93   

Overview

Thank you, our Stalin, for a happy childhood." "Thank you, dear Marshal [Stalin], for our freedom, for our children's happiness, for life." Between the Russian Revolution and the Cold War, Soviet public culture was so dominated by the power of the state that slogans like these appeared routinely in newspapers, on posters, and in government proclamations. In this penetrating historical study, Jeffrey Brooks draws on years of research into the most influential and widely circulated Russian newspapers--including Pravda, Isvestiia, and the army paper Red Star--to explain the origins, the nature, and the effects of this unrelenting idealization of the state, the Communist Party, and the leader.

Brooks shows how, beginning with Lenin, the Communists established a state monopoly of the media that absorbed literature, art, and science into a stylized and ritualistic public culture--a form of political performance that became its own reality and excluded other forms of public reflection. He presents and explains scores of self-congratulatory newspaper articles, including tales of Stalin's supposed achievements and virtue, accounts of the country's allegedly dynamic economy, and warnings about the decadence and cruelty of the capitalist West. Brooks pays particular attention to the role of the press in the reconstruction of the Soviet cultural system to meet the Nazi threat during World War II and in the transformation of national identity from its early revolutionary internationalism to the ideology of the Cold War. He concludes that the country's one-sided public discourse and the pervasive idea that citizens owed the leader gratitude for the "gifts" of goods and services led ultimately to the inability of late Soviet Communism to diagnose its own ills, prepare alternative policies, and adjust to new realities.

The first historical work to explore the close relationship between language and the implementation of the Stalinist-Leninist program, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! is a compelling account of Soviet public culture as reflected through the country's press.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Long before the words 'politically correct' entered our vocabulary, Lenin and his associates set about installing an altogether steelier and more suffocating notion of 'political literacy.' By every means, down to censoring the content on matchbook covers, the Bolsheviks declared the minds of the people their possession to mold as they chose. . . . With unmatched thoroughness and persistence, [the Bolsheviks] brought to heel the press, theater, art, film, and every other form of public culture. Brooks meticulously surveys the process by which this was done and the product it yielded.
Times Literary Supplement
Brooks provide[s] the perfect backdrop to the Koestleresque drama of the Moscow trials.
— George Walden
Novyi Mir
Soviet history has its own specificity. The student of Soviet literature must be a historian and political scientist and the historian involentarily becomes a philologist. Jeffrey Brooks is rich in this experience. . . . As Brooks shows, Soviet society and the stalinist epoch existed in a fantasy world of ideological construction not only because the authorities 'concealed the truth' and 'censored brutally,' but because through the press, literature, and art 'there was created a stylized, ritualized, and self-reflexive public culture which produced its own reality, supplanting all other forms of expression.' . . . Brooks happens to be both a knowledgeable and sensitive guide to the upside down world which appeared in the pages of Soviet newspapers and magazines.
— Evgenii Dobrenko
Boston Review
The book's central theme carries crushing weight. At least for a time, a regime can define reality. Brooks instructs most by reminding that Newspeak is old news, that a properly orchestrated public culture can creep, kudzu-like, through private thought.
— Susan McWilliams
American Historical Review
[Brooks] invites us to ponder how the cultural dimension can be understood. The stimulating quality of his insights will surely provoke valuable debate.
— Laura Englestein
Journal of Social History
This rich and compelling study of the genesis and development of official public culture in the Soviet Union has significant implications for our understanding of Soviet society. . . . While Brooks is certainly not the first to discuss the important consequences of the Bolshevik press monopoly, he has undoubtedly read and sampled the early Soviet press more systematically, more rigorously, and over a longer time interval than any other historian, and his book provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the text and illustrations that appeared in the Soviet Union's most influential national newspapers between 1917 and 1953.
— Julie Kay Mueller
Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics
This book provides a vivid and systematic analysis of the techniques used by the Soviet leadership to build a nation unified in service to the state.
Slavic and East European Journal
Thank You, Comrade Stalin is a landmark study—and a profoundly moral book.
— Eric Naiman
Times Literary Supplement - George Walden
Brooks provide[s] the perfect backdrop to the Koestleresque drama of the Moscow trials.
Novyi Mir - Evgenii Dobrenko
Soviet history has its own specificity. The student of Soviet literature must be a historian and political scientist and the historian involentarily becomes a philologist. Jeffrey Brooks is rich in this experience. . . . As Brooks shows, Soviet society and the stalinist epoch existed in a fantasy world of ideological construction not only because the authorities 'concealed the truth' and 'censored brutally,' but because through the press, literature, and art 'there was created a stylized, ritualized, and self-reflexive public culture which produced its own reality, supplanting all other forms of expression.' . . . Brooks happens to be both a knowledgeable and sensitive guide to the upside down world which appeared in the pages of Soviet newspapers and magazines.
Boston Review - Susan McWilliams
The book's central theme carries crushing weight. At least for a time, a regime can define reality. Brooks instructs most by reminding that Newspeak is old news, that a properly orchestrated public culture can creep, kudzu-like, through private thought.
American Historical Review - Laura Englestein
[Brooks] invites us to ponder how the cultural dimension can be understood. The stimulating quality of his insights will surely provoke valuable debate.
Journal of Social History - Julie Kay Mueller
This rich and compelling study of the genesis and development of official public culture in the Soviet Union has significant implications for our understanding of Soviet society. . . . While Brooks is certainly not the first to discuss the important consequences of the Bolshevik press monopoly, he has undoubtedly read and sampled the early Soviet press more systematically, more rigorously, and over a longer time interval than any other historian, and his book provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the text and illustrations that appeared in the Soviet Union's most influential national newspapers between 1917 and 1953.
Slavic and East European Journal - Eric Naiman
Thank You, Comrade Stalin is a landmark study—and a profoundly moral book.
From the Publisher

"Long before the words 'politically correct' entered our vocabulary, Lenin and his associates set about installing an altogether steelier and more suffocating notion of 'political literacy.' By every means, down to censoring the content on matchbook covers, the Bolsheviks declared the minds of the people their possession to mold as they chose. . . . With unmatched thoroughness and persistence, [the Bolsheviks] brought to heel the press, theater, art, film, and every other form of public culture. Brooks meticulously surveys the process by which this was done and the product it yielded."--Foreign Affairs

"Brooks provide[s] the perfect backdrop to the Koestleresque drama of the Moscow trials."--George Walden, Times Literary Supplement

"[Brooks] tells a tightly spun tale about Cold War Soviet life. . . . Thorough and cogent. . . ."--Library Journal

"Soviet history has its own specificity. The student of Soviet literature must be a historian and political scientist and the historian involentarily becomes a philologist. Jeffrey Brooks is rich in this experience. . . . As Brooks shows, Soviet society and the stalinist epoch existed in a fantasy world of ideological construction not only because the authorities 'concealed the truth' and 'censored brutally,' but because through the press, literature, and art 'there was created a stylized, ritualized, and self-reflexive public culture which produced its own reality, supplanting all other forms of expression.' . . . Brooks happens to be both a knowledgeable and sensitive guide to the upside down world which appeared in the pages of Soviet newspapers and magazines."--Evgenii Dobrenko, Novyi Mir (New World, the leading Soviet literary journal)

"The book's central theme carries crushing weight. At least for a time, a regime can define reality. Brooks instructs most by reminding that Newspeak is old news, that a properly orchestrated public culture can creep, kudzu-like, through private thought."--Susan McWilliams, Boston Review

"[Brooks] invites us to ponder how the cultural dimension can be understood. The stimulating quality of his insights will surely provoke valuable debate."--Laura Englestein, American Historical Review

"This rich and compelling study of the genesis and development of official public culture in the Soviet Union has significant implications for our understanding of Soviet society. . . . While Brooks is certainly not the first to discuss the important consequences of the Bolshevik press monopoly, he has undoubtedly read and sampled the early Soviet press more systematically, more rigorously, and over a longer time interval than any other historian, and his book provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the text and illustrations that appeared in the Soviet Union's most influential national newspapers between 1917 and 1953."--Julie Kay Mueller, Journal of Social History

"This book provides a vivid and systematic analysis of the techniques used by the Soviet leadership to build a nation unified in service to the state."--Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics

"Thank You, Comrade Stalin is a landmark study--and a profoundly moral book."--Eric Naiman, Slavic and East European Journal

Slavic and East European Journal
Thank You, Comrade Stalin is a landmark study—and a profoundly moral book.
— Eric Naiman
Library Journal
Brooks (Johns Hopkins Univ.) has spent a decade reading closely four major newspapers, 1917 to 1953, for both editorial and news content; now, using this extensive research, he tells a tightly spun tale about Cold War Soviet life. During Lenin and Stalin's administrations, he notes, the Russian government used the controlled press to create an illusion that the state and the society were synonymous; and the official narrative of public life, as disseminated in the press, replaced the secular and pluralistic public culture that had existed before 1917. Citizens were then required to take part in a public performance that affirmed their allegiance to the state and that provided them with goods and services they needed. The required goal of these performances was first to build socialism, later to preserve the state against aggression. Along with these performances, he describes public treatment of scientists, artists, and award winners. In the end, he concludes, the Soviet monopoly of information and public discourse left the state unable to perceive its own weaknesses and to protect itself from collapse. Thorough and cogent; this book is recommended for academic libraries.--Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691088679
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/12/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations vii
Acknowledgments xi
Prologue xii
One The Monopoly of the Printed Word: From Persuasion to Compulsion 3
Two The First Decade: From Class War to Socialist Building 19
Three The Performance Begins 54
Four The Economy of the Gift: "Thank You, Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood" 83
Five Literature and the Arts: "An Ode to Stalin" 106
Six Honor and Dishonor 126
Seven Many Wars, One Victory 159
Eight The Theft of the War 195
Epilogue Renewal, Stagnation, and Collapse 233
Notes 249
Index 307
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)