Engineers of the Soul by Frank Westerman
The Grandiose Propaganda of Stalin?s Russia

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Synopsis

Engineers of the Soul tells the story of two journeys--one literal, one imaginary--through contemporary Russia and through Soviet-era literature. Frank Westerman draws the reader into the euphoria of the Russian Revolution, as art and reality were bent to radically new purposes.

Writers of renown, described by Stalin as ³engineers of the soul, .² were encouraged to sing the praises of canal and dam construction under titles such as Energy and The Hydraulic Power Station. However, their enthusiasm--spontaneous and idealistic at first--soon became an obligatory song of praise as the massive waterworks led to slavery.

Combining investigative journalism with literary history, Westerman examines the books and lives of writers caught in the wheels of the system.

 

About Frank Westerman

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FRANK WESTERMAN was born in 1964 and lived and worked in Moscow as correspondent for the leading Dutch NRC Handelsblad newspaper. Westerman is the author of five books and his work has been published in more than ten countries and has won many prizes.
 
Published April 28, 2011 by Overlook Hardcover. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The arbiter of the works of the Red army of writers was Maxim Gorky, the Father of Soviet letters and chief of the Union of Soviet Writers.

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The Guardian

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Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Engineers of the Soul: The Gr...

Scotsman.com

It is a tale of delusion, self-censorship and terror as the authors of 'boy meets dredger' novels fall foul of political machinations, engineering catastrophes, and the vigilant eye of the Orwellian GlavLit department which, right up until 1991, pulped the equivalent of entire Siberian forests.

May 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Engineers of the Soul: The Gr...

Metro

Pity the fiction writer living in Russia under Stalin: virtually the only way to get published was to write novels celebrating the resounding successes of Stalin’s Five-Year Plans.

May 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Engineers of the Soul: The Gr...

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