Stalin's Master Narrative A Critical Edition of the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course David Brandenberger, Mikhail V. Zelenov

Annals of Communism Series
Publication date:
23 Apr 2019
Yale University Press
760 pages: 235 x 156 x 51mm
21 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World excluding the Russian Federation

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A critical edition of the text that defined communist party ideology in Stalin’s Soviet Union

“An important, persuasive and definitive account.”—William A. Clark, Europe-Asia Studies

Under Joseph Stalin, The Short Course on the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) defined ideology in the USSR. It was compulsory reading for every party member and governed all references to Soviet history, not only in print but on the theatrical stage and silver screen as well. Itwas quite literally the USSR’s master narrative—a hegemonic statement on history, politics, and Marxism-Leninism that scripted Soviet society for a generation. Abroad, the book served as an ideological blueprint during the early Cold War—in Eastern Europe, the People’s Republic of China, and throughout the communist world. This critical edition of the Short Course, edited by the historians David Brandenberger and Mikhail Zelenov, exposes for the first time the enormous role that Stalin played in the development of this all-important text, as well as the unparalleled influence that the dictator wielded over the Soviet historical imagination.

David Brandenberger is professor of history at the University of Richmond and the author of Propaganda State in Crisis. Mikhail Zelenov is professor of history and main specialist at the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History (RGASPI).

"The single most important text produced under Stalin’s rule. Remarkably, nobody has ever made a thorough study of the Short Course before, and this book fills a real lacuna and is long overdue."—Erik van Ree, author of The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin

"This critical edition of Stalin’s Short Course presents an important, indeed crucial, archival discovery in impeccable fashion."—Lars T. Lih, editor of Stalin's Letters to Molotov