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Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume II Hardcover – June 1, 2006

32 customer reviews

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Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume II + Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I + Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume III
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This completely mind-blowing book told us what the tattoos meant, and how they could become central to the movie. -- David Cronenberg. Director, Eastern Promises (2007)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fuel Publishing (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955006120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955006128
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
and you'll begin to get an idea of the contents of this amazing book. The "Vory v zakone" (literally "thieves in law")are Russia's criminal underworld and their existence dates back to the days of Tsarist prisons. They have their own elaborate set of laws, their own culture, and each thief's professional resume is tattooed on his body.

The author of this book, a former Russian prison guard, spent years documenting these tattoos and unraveling their meanings, and in the process has created a fascinating cultural history. Be forewarned, however, these tattoos are not like anything you've probably ever seen before, even in the American prison system. Many of them are quite shocking in their sexual detail and depiction of violence. Some of these tattoos were forcibly applied to the wearers' bodies, as punishment for reneging on gambling debts, serving as an informant, or other infractions of the thieves' code. This is not a book you'll want to let your kids get ahold of, as most of the "art" depicted is quite repellent. But it's a glimpse into a world most people didn't even know existed until the arrival of the Russian mob in the US and the release of movies like "Eastern Promises."

From my perspective, I'm glad that most of the tattoos are drawings, not photographs. It makes it easier to see some of the fine details in the tattoos. If you have an interest in crime and the criminal underworld, this book makes for a fascinating read.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C.D. on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent photos and artwork with clear, concise explanations. An excellent collector's item, but not really a suggested "coffee table" book. There's quite a bit of nudity, graphic political and sexual imagery, and one heaping dose of harsh reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Sung on January 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
You'd be hard pressed to find another book which has this level of detail, research, and illustration. Baldaev devoted his entire life to recording these tattoos, and explaining their meanings before our very own eyes. This is his masterpiece, his life work. Buy the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James F. Pierce MD on January 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Quite an accomplishment. Not for the "faint of heart" but very interesting translation of a culture into the world of tattoos.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Hyman VINE VOICE on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the real deal. Filled with illustrations of tattoos and their meanings. This is not a fluffy book with happy hearts and tribal motifs. It is gritty, nasty, often explicit tattoos from the prisons in Russia.

As a tattooed guy who spends a lot of time over there, it is also a valuable reference.

My only regret is that there aren't more photos. Much of the book is drawings ... good ones... but I would like to see a lot more photographs of the people.

Perhaps I will just have to buy one of his other books
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume must have gone out of print earlier than I or III, as I recall it being prohibitively expensive when I bought the others several years back. I'm glad it's available again, as I found the non-pictorial content here far surpassed that available in the other volumes. The map of the camps made me instantly realize why Solzhenitsyn named his masterpiece "The Gulag Archipelago".
Be forewarned that the body art reproduced here could be considered very offensive by some as well as pornographic.
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By 🐙 on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shipped quickly and really excited to get this product for my boyfriend. Evidently there were not many prints in the past few years so I couldn't get the next volume in the set for him (it was running around $130) Really excited to see more prints out and a reasonable price. Product came new in plastic wrap, he loved it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is both very informative and interesting-- using both visual and written representations to illustrate the attitude of the criminal caste of Russian prisons from pre-WWII to present (catalogued through detailed pen & ink illustrations of tattoos). Visually stimulating.
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Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume II
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