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

Book Description | Table of Contents


"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


"Thank You, Comrade Stalin illuminates the story of the rise and demise of official public culture in the Soviet Union. In lively and provocative prose, Jeffrey Brooks examines the Soviet press to show how Party leaders constructed a vision of national identity through their tight control over the dissemination of information. This powerful book will spark new debates about the Cold War, and will fascinate anyone who ever longed for a peek behind the 'iron curtain'."--Elaine Tyler May, University of Minnesota

"Jeffrey Brooks demonstrates in fascinating detail what the term 'logocracy'--the rule of words--meant in the Soviet Union. Concentrating on the press but also covering literature and the arts, he shows how the public culture promoted by the communist authorities from Lenin to Stalin to the exclusion of all independent thought created its own false reality. It sustained the dictatorship but in the long run also contributed to its decay and collapse. The book is an important contribution to the understanding of a regime that exerted such baleful influence on the twentieth century."--Richard Pipes, Harvard University

"Jeffrey Brooks has lifted the curtain on a great mystery: how did the makers of the official Soviet state construct their world view? Through a splendid examination of the Soviet Press, Brooks reveals that the rise of the cult of Stalin, Soviet anti-Semitism and the great 'Great Patriotic War' against Fascism provided the foundational myths of the new regime. As he details the unfolding of the Soviet view of the Cold War, no longer will it be possible for scholars to study the Cold War as only a diplomatic response to the Soviets or an internal affair focused on anti-communist purges in the United States. Rather we have to understand the two great powers in dialogue with each other, and that political and cultural history are two sides of the same coin."--Professor Lary May, University of Minnesota

"Professor Jeffrey Brooks's Thank You, Comrade Stalin! is one of the very best books in any language on the Soviet Union and system."--Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, University of California, Berkeley

"Through a meticulous and exhaustive analysis of the daily Soviet Press, Brooks traces the development of the media vocabulary that provided the basic ideological ground informing relationships between the state and its citizens. The Stalin who stands at the center of this web of deceit is not first and foremost a monster nor an ideologue, but rather an omnipresent textual reality, the ultimate spinmeister."--Andrew Wachtel, Northwestern University

"The twentieth century knew other terrorist regimes, but the character and tone of Stalinist discourse was unique. Stalinist verbiage took the place of real discussions about the issues facing society, and Brooks gives us the most thorough, most intelligent analysis of that verbiage."--Peter Kenez, University of California, Santa Cruz

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File created: 4/21/2017

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