Friday, August 27, 2010

Who Killed the Soviet Economy?

Once upon a time I used to read lots of literature.Then I moved to history books, and then to current affairs. Nowadays I find that the limited time I have for book reading goes mostly into business books, which may or may not be useful, but are not much to write home about. One upshot is that this blog offers fewer book reviews than I intended. This week however, I came across an absolutely glowing review of Red Plenty, by Francis Spufford. The book isn't even on sale yet in the US, though it should be any day.

You heard it here first.


Anonymous said...

what a pity the book starts only in 1938

By the late 1920s, the Soviet political bosses had given their support to Lysenko.

while I learnt in this program that it originated from Stalin falling for Lysenko and as a consequence landing the SU in the bind that they had to buy wheat from the US. I found it fascinating listening and very conducive to multitasking ;-)

The above quote is from


Anonymous said...

forgot to include in the above the why I found the Lysenko story so memorable.
Orwell tells that he had a teacher who asked the class regularly:

what is the most important thing in the world?

and the class had to shout back:



(the irony is of course that in the road to Wigan Pier Orwell found that people would forgoe healthy food in favour of a pair of useless shoes because those were needed for the upkeep of their dignity)

Anonymous said...

I suppose the book in question would be an easier read than Alec Nove and J.R. Millar, but the last thing I read by someone who didn't understand any Russian was relentlessly off key, even if some parts were interesting.

Don't blame everything on Lysenko, by 1935 Soviet power had pretty much 'won' the country-side. And even modern-day leaders like Mbeki can fall for scientific fallicies.