A Russian Journal

by John Steinbeck


A Russian Journal, published by John Steinbeck in 1948, is an eyewitness account of his travels through the Soviet Union during the early years of the Cold War era. Accompanied by the distinguished war photographer Robert Capa, Steinbeck set out with the intent to record the real attitudes and modes of existence of people living under Soviet rule. As Steinbeck explained it, the book's goal was "honest reporting, to set down what we saw and heard without editorial comment, without drawing conclusions about things we didn't know sufficiently."
This literary and photographic record of life under Joseph Stalin's rule is a valuable historical document. Steinbeck and Capa portray Soviet people as living in extremely different conditions from those in the reports among the West of the day: life in the cities and the country appears peaceful and very similar to that of other peoples in Europe at the time. Without diminishing the totalitarian nature of Stalin's regime, Steinbeck claimed that the main fear held by average Russians was not of Stalin but another World War.
During their short trip to the Soviet Union, Steinbeck and Capa visited Moscow, Kiev, Stalingrad and Soviet Georgia.

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