By Lewis H. Siegelbaum
The motor vehicle and Soviet communism made a strange couple. The vital image of yankee fiscal may possibly and consumerism by no means accomplished iconic prestige as an engine of Communist growth, partially since it posed a clumsy problem to a couple simple assumptions of Soviet ideology and perform. during this wealthy and sometimes witty ebook, Lewis H. Siegelbaum recounts the lifetime of the Soviet vehicle and within the procedure provides us a clean standpoint at the background and destiny of the USSR itself.
Based on assets starting from legit country data 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 part 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 by means of American businessmen and engineers within the checkered background of Soviet motor vehicle 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 yank Detroit. within the interwar years, motor vehicle golf equipment, motor vehicle magazines, and the recognition of rally races have been symptoms of a nascent Soviet automobile tradition, its development slowed by way of the guidelines of the Stalinist kingdom and through Russia's intractable "roadlessness." within the postwar years vehicles seemed with better frequency in songs, video clips, novels, and in propaganda that promised to do higher than car-crazy America.
Ultimately, Siegelbaum indicates, the car epitomized and exacerbated the contradictions among what Soviet communism inspired and what it supplied. to wish a motor vehicle was once a mark of aid for commercial targets; to wish a vehicle for its personal sake was once anything else completely. simply because Soviet automobiles have been either not easy to get and chronically unreliable, and such goods as fuel and spare elements so scarce, possessing and holding them enmeshed electorate in networks of non-public, semi-illegal, and ideologically heterodox practices that the kingdom was once helpless to wrestle. Deeply researched and engagingly instructed, this masterful and unique biography of the Soviet vehicle presents a brand new viewpoint on one of many 20th century's so much iconic—and important—technologies and a singular method of figuring out the background of the Soviet Union itself.
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Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile by Lewis H. Siegelbaum