Engineers of the Soul draws the reader into the wild euphoria of the Russian Revolution, as art and reality are bent to radically new purposes. Writers of renown, described by Stalin as engineers of the soul, were encouraged to sing the praises of construction. But the initial enthusiasm of Soviet writers faltered as these colossal structures led to slavery and destruction, and they were obliged to labour on in the service of a deluded totalitarian society.
Frank Westerman sweeps the reader along to the dramatic final confrontation between writers and engineers that signalled the end of the Soviet empire.
'The fate of Soviet writers under Stalin is movingly explored in this outstanding mix of travel book and literary study, which has about it more than a hint of Bruce Chatwin... Westerman has elevated the authorial journalist-traveller into a brilliant, magic storyteller' Sunday Times
'Brilliant, illuminating and rich' Literary Review
'Westerman completes a portrait at once engaging and devastating. As such, it comes closer than any conventional literary history to defining the elusive Socialist Realism' Independent
'This is a terrific read, with vivid, well-researched and reflective insights into Soviet society' Irish Times
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