From Library Journal
The famous "golden spike" driven at Promontory Summit in 1869 signaled the completion of the first American transcontinental railroad. Mirroring this event is the Turkish Siberian railroad constructed by Soviet Russia from 1928 to 1930. Some of the same benefits of linking east and west in North America applied to the Turksib line. But here Payne (history, Emory Univ.) shows that Turksib was used to build socialism and can be seen as a microcosm of the Soviet "cultural revolution" experience. The book's ponderous beginning gives way by the third chapter to exciting historical detail of the recruitment of native workers, the Kazakhs, considered at best seasonal workers and at worst pure rabble, and of the fight to further socialism with a motley assortment of pre-Revolutionary bourgeois engineers. As the Soviets began their rush toward industrialization, the ugly specter of class warfare and the purge of the Kulaks became necessary tools of Soviet success. The "stakhanovite" workers, known here as "shock workers," thus became tools of the cultural revolution. Recommended for Soviet history collections in public or academic libraries. Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola
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“Scholars looking to more fully comprehend the complex dynamic of Soviet industrialization and its interplay with nationality policy will learn much from this thoughtful study.”
--The Russian Review