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A Russian Journal (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – December 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0141180199 ISBN-10: 0141180196 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141180196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141180199
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

After the Iron Curtain was established following World War II, Steinbeck, along with photographer Bob Capa, ventured into the Soviet Union on behalf of the New York Herald Tribune. This 1948 volume collects the full run of his reports with numerous pictures.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Susan Shillinglaw is a professor of English at San Jose State University and the 2012-13 President's Scholar. She has published widely on Steinbeck, including introductions to Penguin Classics editions of Steinbeck's works as well as A Journey into Steinbeck's California (2006) and Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage (2013). From 1987 to 2005 she was the Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State.

More About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

Customer Reviews

Regardless, A Russian Journal is certainly an interesting and enjoyable read.
C. Bradley
This book was a collaborative effort, but the 1999 printing seriously short changes Capa's contribution.
Gary Johnson
I like the style of Steinbeck and I have enjoyed all his books that I have read.
Marin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Adam Rust VINE VOICE on November 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book after returning home from a two week trip in Southwestern Russia. Steinbeck and Capa took their journey in 1948. They travel from Moscow to Volgograd and Rostov before turning back in Georgia. Much of the tension in this book springs from the rapidly cooling relationship between leaders of Russia and the United States at that point in time.
Their aim is not political. They seek to understand the hearts of the Soviet people. One of the amusing elements of this book is their regular conflict with the Soviet censors, who refuse to believe that they do not have political motives. Steinbeck intersperses the commentary on Russia with the nuts and bolts of their daily travels. The method mirrors the approach of his 1940 collaboration in the Gulf of California, "The Log from the Sea of Cortez." Steinbeck likes to write about the universal character of people and this trip to Russia or his previous trip in Mexico both speak to that interest. His conclusion is that Russians are like people anywhere else - they are proud of their homes and their families and are sincere in their efforts to build their nascent country. Steinbeck also goes to pains to elicit the hope among the Russian people for peace.
Many of the things that catch their eye remain constant to now. One interesting change is the perspective of the Russian people about the direction of their country. In Steinbeck's recollection, the people recognize that they are sacrificing for the good of their country. In 1948, the Russians expect that they will eventually gain from their hard work. Now they seem to have less faith.
This book is a great chance to learn about the personality of the world famous Robert Capa.
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gary Johnson on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book, but you should buy a hardback edition instead of the paperback. I am a frequent visitor to Russia and I enjoyed the oportunity to compare and contrast Russia today with postwar Russia under Stalin. Unfortunately, Robert Capa's photos in the 1999 paperback are small and muddy. I could not even recognize places that I have visited many times. This book was a collaborative effort, but the 1999 printing seriously short changes Capa's contribution.

I don't know if the images are better in the 2001 paperback or the Kindle version, but after reading the 1999 edition I got a copy of the 1948 hardback via Amazon. I recommend that you do the same if you want to fully enjoy this excellent work.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Casey on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This wonderfully written book takes you through post-war Soviet Union, to farms and cities devastated by war but struggling to return to normalcy. Robert Capa not only adds wonderful photos but his role in this story is both funny and illuminating for any Capa fans. Written in the late 1940s, the story provides us with a very human side of the Russian people. The openness and friendliness of everyone they meet contrasts with the paranoia and hatred so present in the US at that time.
I read this as both a photographer and one who was recently in Russia and the insight provided was very enjoyable and educating. Capa's mannerisms and method of photography allowed his subjects to open up and feel comfortable in his lens -- not an easy thing since so many of the people had lost family and suffered terribly. Steinbeck's writing is honest, funny and his skills as a non-partisan reporter really shine in this work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chapulina R on December 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Three years after the end of the War, John Steinbeck and photographer Robert Capa made a sweeping journey through the USSR. The countryside and cities were still ravaged by the war, transportation difficult over devastated roads and rails. Shattered tanks and warplanes still littered the landscape. Every family had been touched by the conflict and their everyday life recorded in this memoir was adversely affected by the years of occupation and struggle. But the resilient Soviet people were rebuilding, and in the midst of hardship they welcomed the Western journalists into their homes and lives. This is not a book about political ideology. Steinbeck's elegant writing and Capa's brilliant photography capture the spirit of a people working heroically to restore their homeland but still taking a little time out to have fun. For anyone interested in the human dimension of the War on the Eastern Front, "A Russian Journal" will give an unforgetable impression of its recent aftermath.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great road trip story . . . that just happens to be set in Russia (and elsewhere in the Soviet Union). It is an amusing and thoughtful account of Steinbeck's travels with his good friend Robert Capa. As Steinbeck often noted in his works of nonfiction, he recounts merely what he saw, which may or may not be reflective of the experiences of others. Thus this is far more a narrative about two men traveling together than it is a book about Russia. Steinbeck does not seek to unravel the mysteries of Russia; he merely wishes to take a peek behind the curtain to get a glimpse of how its inhabitants live.
This is a very amusing, thoughtful and readable book - the best Steinbeck I've read.
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