Hammer and Tickle
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Hammer and Tickle : A History of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes

3.31 (166 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The book that immerses the Cold War in the warm bath of nostalgia. Q: Why, despite all the shortages, was the toilet paper in East Germany always 2-ply? A: Because they had to send a copy of everything they did to Moscow. Communist jokes are the strangest, funniest, most enchanting and meaningful legacy of the 80 years of political experimentation in Russia and Eastern Europe, known as Communism. The valiant and sardonic citizens of the former Communist countries - surrounded by an invisible network of secret police, threatened with arrest, imprisonment and forced labour, confronted by an economic system that left shops empty, and bombarded with ludicrous state propaganda - turned joke-telling into an art form. They used jokes as a coded way of speaking the truth. HAMMER AND TICKLE takes us on a unique journey through the Communist era (1917-1989), and tells its real history through subversive jokes and joke-tellers, many of whom ended up in the gulags. It is also illustrated with a combination of rare and previously unpublished archive material, political cartoons, caricatures, photographs and state-sponsored propaganda. Humorous, culturally poignant and historically revealing, this is the story of a political system that was (almost) laughed out of existence.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 28mm | 258.55g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 0753825821
  • 9780753825822
  • 175,907

Review quote

Ben Lewis's book celebrates the brilliance with which jokes exposed the gulf between the Soviet ideal and its brutal reality. SUNDAY TELEGRAPH There is a laugh on every page -- John Suchet S MAGAZINE, SUNDAY EXPRESSshow more

About Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis' award-winning film 'Hammer and Tickle' was broadcast on BBC4 in 2006. His article on Communist jokes for Prospect magazine, received the greatest number of hits on their website for any article last year.show more

Review Text

Ben Lewis's book celebrates the brilliance with which jokes exposed the gulf between the Soviet ideal and its brutal reality. SUNDAY TELEGRAPHshow more

Rating details

166 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 15% (25)
4 26% (43)
3 39% (64)
2 16% (27)
1 4% (7)
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