""Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars" is a fascinating book about one of the most enigmatic periods in Soviet history. With great insight, and on the basis of thorough archival research, Ethan Pollock examines the organized discussions of science in Stalin's last years. He shows how important those discussions are for understanding not only Stalinism but the Soviet experience as a whole. This will be an indispensable book for historians of the Soviet Union and for historians and sociologists of science more generally."--David Holloway, Stanford University
"Ethan Pollock has written an elegant and brilliantly penetrating history that is so rich in detail and broad ranging in its analysis that it will quickly become required reading for anyone seeking to understand how Stalin managed the Soviet Union after World War II."--Martin J. Sherwin, Tufts University
"This is a major and original contribution to the study of late Stalinist society. As a reader, I enjoyed it very much. It is poised to become a standard text on Stalinist ideology and science, fascinating for professionals and accessible to students. Clearly conceived and organized, the book is based on impressive research, including little-known or previously unknown documents from the Central Party archive, Russia's State Archive, and the Soviet Academy of Science."--Vladislav Zubok, Temple University, author of "Inside the Kremlin's Cold War"
""Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars" tells the story of each of the scientific debates under focus with admirable clarity and concision, but without sacrificing the complexity of the issues or the stakes involved. Its portrayal of Stalin was, to me, utterly persuasive. This book willhave a broad audience, not only in undergraduate courses on Soviet history, Stalinism, and the history of science, but also among the informed public."--Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Michigan State University, author of "Stalinism as a Way of Life"
Between 1945 and 1953, while the Soviet Union confronted postwar reconstruction and Cold War crises, its unchallenged leader Joseph Stalin carved out time to study scientific disputes and dictate academic solutions. He spearheaded a discussion of "scientific" Marxist-Leninist philosophy, edited reports on genetics and physiology, adjudicated controversies about modern physics, and wrote essays on linguistics and political economy. Historians have been tempted to dismiss all this as the megalomaniacal ravings of a dying dictator. But in "Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars," Ethan Pollock draws on thousands of previously unexplored archival documents to demonstrate that Stalin was in fact determined to show how scientific truth and Party doctrine reinforced one another. Socialism was supposed to be scientific, and science ideologically correct, and Stalin ostensibly embodied the perfect symbiosis between power and knowledge.
Focusing on six major postwar debates in the Soviet scientific community, this elegantly written book shows that Stalin's forays into scholarship can be understood only within the context of international tensions, institutional conflicts, and the growing uncertainty about the proper relationship between scientific knowledge and Party-dictated truths. The nature of Stalin's interventions makes clear that more was at stake than high politics: these science wars were about asserting that the Party was rational and modern, and about codifying the Soviet worldview in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the globe during the early Cold War. Ultimately, however, the effort to develop a scientific basis for Soviet ideology undermined the system'slegitimacy.
About the Author :
Ethan Pollock has contributed to Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars as an author.
Ethan Pollock is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.
|Title:||Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars||Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|No. of Pages:||269|
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