Yale University Press mines data from Soviet archives

Aoc On Sunday The Boston Globe ran a profile of Jonathan Brent, the associate director and editorial director of Yale University Press and the executive editor of the Annals of Communism Series. The series is a 20-book project that “provides new and vivid details from documents that have been mined by hundreds of [Brent’s] researchers.”

The series spans the 75-year history of the USSR, and virtually all the material contained in these archives has never before been available to Western or even Russian scholars. Individual volumes focus on various topics, from the reactions of ordinary citizens to forced-draft industrialization and collectivization to the history of the Communist International (Comintern), from the last days of the Romanovs to the Gulag system, from victory in the Second World War to the collapse of the Soviet bureaucracy in the Brezhnev period. Each book is published with scholarly commentary, annotation, and interpretation in both an English-language edition for Western audiences and a Russian-language edition for distribution in Russia. The volumes are designed to be useful to students, scholars and interested general readers.

Piggy Foxy and the Sword of Revolution by Alexander Vatlin, the latest book in the series, is an unexpected collection of self-portraits, sketches, and caricatures by Bolshevik leaders in the 1920s and 30s and offers unique insights into their relationships and mentality. The informal drawings reveal a previously unknown spontaneity and sense of humor among those in Stalin’s inner circle.

Read the full text of the Boston Globe article here.

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