Engineers of the Soul (Paperback)
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Short Description for Engineers of the Soul Tells the story of two journeys - one literal, one imaginary - through contemporary Russia and through Soviet-era literature. This title examines both the landscape of 'Oriental despotism' and the books - and lives - of writers caught in the wheels of the system.
- Published: 07 June 2010
- Format: Paperback 320 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781843431008 ISBN 10: 1843431009
- Sales rank: 474,858
Full description for Engineers of the Soul
"Engineers of the Soul" is the riveting story of two journeys - one literal, one imaginary - through contemporary Russia and through Soviet-era literature. Travelling through present and past, Frank Westerman 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 canal and dam construction under titles such as "Energy", "The Hydraulic Power Station" and "Onward, Time"! But their enthusiasm - spontaneous and idealistic at first - soon becomes an obligatory song of praise. And as these colossal waterworks lead to slavery and destruction, Soviet writers labour on in the service of a deluded totalitarian society. Combining investigative journalism with literary history, Westerman examines both the landscape of 'Oriental despotism' and the books - and lives - of writers caught in the wheels of the system. 'It is easy to die a hero's death', wrote Konstantin Paustovsky, 'but it is difficult to live a hero's life'. "Engineers of the Soul" sweeps the reader along to the dramatic denouement: the final confrontation between writers and engineers that signalled the end of the Soviet empire.