Steinbeck and Capa's account of their journey through Cold War Russia is a classic piece of reportage and travel writing.
Just after the Iron Curtain fell on Eastern Europe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travelers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. Hailed by the New York Times as "superb" when it first appeared in 1948, A Russian Journal is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document.
What they saw and movingly recorded in words and on film was what Steinbeck called "the great other side there... the private life of the Russian people." Unlike other Western reporting about Russia at the time, A Russian Journal is free of ideological obsessions. Rather, Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II - represented here in Capa's stirring photographs alongside Steinbeck's masterful prose.
Through it all, we are given intimate glimpses of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle. This edition features an introduction by Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw.
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Enjoyable easy listen not for historic buffs
Personally I wouldn't listen to the book again simply due to the fact that in many ways it's a travelling journal and listening to it again will not provide too many new insights.
Aside from Kapa, my favourite character was Chmarsky simply due to his ability to cause trouble and delays.
The travel to Georgia was the highlight of the book and the descriptions really made want to see it first hand
The description of the mentally-disturbed girl in Stalingrad is heartbreaking and highlights one of the aspects of any war-suffering of civilians and loss of sanity
This book in my opinion should be read purely for enjoyment it is not and does not aim to cover all aspects of life in Soviet Union, many of the things can be thought to be naive impressions of a tourist, however I believe that something of a spirit of that time has been captured and that makes the book worth a read.
- Stanley Sokol
A great little journey