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Rysk dagbok (1948)

av John Steinbeck

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6341936,807 (3.83)58
Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe 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 travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A RUSSIAN JOURNAL is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpse of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle… (mer)
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» Se även 58 omnämnanden

engelska (15)  spanska (1)  ungerska (1)  nederländska (1)  Alla språk (18)
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This travelogue is obviously going to be dated in details and colloquialisms. However, it works fine as a history of post-WII attitudes, both American and Soviet.

Cappa's pictures were familiar to me. They were typical of pictures of the USSR shown to children in my day. The pictures, snapped in the late 1940s and shown to children in the 1960s, were a nice bit of propaganda. I suppose it was meant to show how behind the Soviets were in technology. At least the Soviets took up-to-date pictures in Times Square to show how decadent we all were. ( )
  rabbit-stew | Dec 31, 2023 |
Originally printed in 1948 (A Russian Journal)
  betty_s | Oct 1, 2023 |
An antidote for hysteria--then and now.
  judeprufrock | Jul 4, 2023 |
"Since we have come back from Russia, probably the remark we have heard most is 'I guess they put on a show for you; I guess they really fixed it up for you. They didn't show you the real thing.' The people in this village did put on a show for us. They put on the same kind of show a Kansas farmer would put on for a guest. They did the same thing that our people do." (pg. 78)

A sort of proto-counterpart to his later Travels with Charley, in which John Steinbeck went on a road trip across the United States in order to 'find the country and its people', A Russian Journal sees the author go on a ramble across the Soviet Union in the company of the war photographer Robert Capa, at a time (1947) when tensions between his country and theirs were particularly high. His intentions are explained thus to the Russian censor: "our project, which was to avoid politics, but to try to talk to and understand Russian farmers, and working people, and market people, to see how they lived, and to try to tell our people about it, so that some kind of common understanding might be reached" (pg. 24).

As the above run-in with the censor indicates, one major difference between A Russian Journal and Travels with Charley is that this time it is Steinbeck, not the poodle Charley, who is on a short leash. The book suffers from the inevitable restrictions that the Soviet authorities place on his movements, his reportage and on Capa's photography. It is always in the back of the reader's mind that he is being shown the model village, the most curated people, the propagandistic gloss. Steinbeck is aware of this too, and unlike his later adventure across the United States, he is here not trying to find the country, but trying to just find something. As he writes, this is not the Russian story, but merely a Russian story (pg. 8).

That he does find something is to his great credit, and despite the restrictions placed on its author, A Russian Journal is a charming read. It lacks the magic that Steinbeck was later able to bring to Travels with Charley, and he never really delivers to us a feel for Moscow, but the book has its highlights, from the witty farm-lady with her line about cucumbers (pg. 75) to the party in vibrant Georgia ("I recall group singing in the street finally, and that the militia came to see what the singing was about, and joined the chorus" (pg. 185)). On multiple occasions he witnesses German prisoners set to work rebuilding the country they had tried to salt and burn so virulently, and one of the keenest impressions in A Russian Journal is the devastation wrought by World War Two just a few years earlier, and the indomitability of the Soviet inhabitants in the face of it. In one of the most arresting passages, Steinbeck witnesses first-hand the apocalyptic ruins of Stalingrad; an apocalypse not caused by the sort of nuclear weapons that Russia and the USA were now training on each other, but one caused by a relentless attrition of bullets and explosives and primitive brawling.

More accurately 'A Soviet Journal' than 'A Russian Journal', Steinbeck spends some time in Kiev and witnesses the destruction wrought on the Ukraine: "If the United States were completely destroyed from New York to Kansas, we would have about the area of destruction the Ukraine has… There are mines which will never be opened because the Germans threw thousands of bodies down into the shafts" (pp56-7). Reading the book in February 2022, the great elephant in the room is of course that Ukraine is no longer in union, Soviet or otherwise, with Russia. Quite the opposite, in fact, for as I write Western nations are urging their citizens to leave Ukraine in anticipation of an imminent Russian invasion. But, tragically, this is nothing new to the region. When an American diplomat reads aloud fitting passages about Russia from books written in 1634 and 1661, which Steinbeck believes are contemporary impressions (pp192-3), we realise these two could just as readily be having the same conversation in 2022.

Similarly, when Steinbeck writes that news is no longer news but opinion and punditry (pg. 3), and that "the most dangerous tendency in the world is the desire to believe a rumour rather than to pin down a fact" (pg. 7), he could be writing a daily brief in one of the few corners of 2022 that still allows for moments of sanity. He desires to avoid politics completely in his Russian journal and, both then and now, the appeal of this approach is obvious. What does emerge is the general decency of the people he meets, regardless of their perspectives and circumstances, and it is one of the great qualities of Steinbeck that you can trace this in all of his writing. Steinbeck's is fine observational writing, and when we consider the various petty prejudices, pomposities and perspectives that many people cling to as they navigate their lives, we see that this simple and seemingly common quality is in fact often depressingly rare, and should be cherished.

"Probably the hardest thing in the world for a man is the simple observation and acceptance of what is. Always we warp our pictures with what we hoped, expected, or were afraid of." (pg. 33) ( )
  MikeFutcher | Feb 13, 2022 |
Justo después de que el Telón de Acero cayera sobre Europa del Este, el ganador del Pulitzer John Steinbeck y el famoso fotógrafo de guerra Robert Capa se aventuraron en la Unión Soviética con el fin de escribir un reportaje para el New York Herald Tribune. Esta oportunidad única llevó a los famosos viajeros no solo a Moscú y Stalingrado, sino también por los campos de Ucrania y el Cáucaso.El campo y las ciudades seguían arrasados por la guerra y el transporte por carreteras y raíles devastados resultaba difícil. Todas las familias habían sufrido las consecuencias del conflicto, y su vida cotidiana se veía negativamente afectada por los largos años de ocupación y lucha. Pero el voluntarioso pueblo soviético se estaba reconstruyendo, y en medio de la penuria acogieron en sus casas y en sus vidas a los periodistas occidentales. ( )
  juan1961 | May 12, 2020 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Steinbeck, JohnFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Capa, RobertFotografmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Marcondes, ClaudioÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Shillinglaw, SusanInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe 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 travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A RUSSIAN JOURNAL is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpse of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle

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