“It’s like the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Stalin period”

As the headline states, the landmark series Annals of Communism is once again making news as a key resource for scholars of the Soviet Union. Jonathan Brent, editorial director for Yale University Press, discusses a exciting new project in an article featured in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

“The Iron Archives,” by staff writer Rachel Donadio
This spring, Yale University Press and the Hoover Institution at Stanford hope to finalize an arrangement to digitize and publish rarely seen material from Stalin’s personal archive, including correspondence about the purges of the ’30s and the immediate postwar period. “It’s like the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Stalin period,” said Jonathan Brent, editorial director of Yale University Press, who is negotiating the arrangement, as he has many other for Yale’s Annals of Communism series, which has published some of the most important recent books drawing on Russian archives. The new material, Brent says, provides “a sense of Stalin the individual, his psychology, his growth as a leader.”

The Annals of Communism series is a multi-volume documentary history spanning the entire seventy-five year history of the Soviet Union. Leading Western and Russian scholars present long-supressed documents from former Soviet state and party archives, along with informative introductions, incisive commentary, and comprehensive notes.

Time calls it, “What Saudi Arabia is to oil, these records are to 20th century history.”

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