By Lewis H. Siegelbaum
The car and Soviet communism made a strange couple. The integral image of yank financial may perhaps and consumerism by no means completed iconic prestige as an engine of Communist growth, partially since it posed an ungainly problem to a couple easy assumptions of Soviet ideology and perform. during this wealthy and infrequently witty ebook, Lewis H. Siegelbaum recounts the lifetime of the Soviet vehicle and within the approach supplies us a clean point of view at the background and destiny of the USSR itself.
Based on resources starting from respectable nation information to cartoons, car-enthusiast magazines, and well known movies, vehicles for Comrades takes us from the development of the massive "Soviet Detroits," logos of the utopian section of Soviet making plans, to present-day Togliatti, the place the destiny of Russia's final vehicle plant hangs within the stability. the massive position performed through American businessmen and engineers within the checkered background of Soviet car manufacture is likely one of the book's surprises, and the writer issues up the ironic parallels among the Soviet tale and the decline of the yankee Detroit. within the interwar years, vehicle golf equipment, automobile magazines, and the recognition of rally races have been indicators of a nascent Soviet vehicle tradition, its progress slowed by way of the rules of the Stalinist country and by means of Russia's intractable "roadlessness." within the postwar years automobiles seemed with better frequency in songs, video clips, novels, and in propaganda that promised to do larger than car-crazy America.
Ultimately, Siegelbaum indicates, the auto epitomized and exacerbated the contradictions among what Soviet communism inspired and what it supplied. to want a vehicle was once a mark of help for business pursuits; to need a vehicle for its personal sake used to be anything else fullyyt. simply because Soviet automobiles have been either demanding to get and chronically unreliable, and such goods as gas and spare elements so scarce, possessing and holding them enmeshed electorate in networks of personal, semi-illegal, and ideologically heterodox practices that the country used to be helpless to wrestle. Deeply researched and engagingly instructed, this masterful and pleasing biography of the Soviet motor vehicle offers a brand new standpoint on one of many 20th century's such a lot iconic—and important—technologies and a singular method of realizing the heritage of the Soviet Union itself.
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