Lenin's Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives

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Hoover Press, 2008 - History - 162 pages
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The secret world of the Soviet Union revealed

The opening of the once-secret Soviet state and party archives in the early 1990s proved to be an event of exceptional significance. When Western scholars broke down the official wall of secrecy that had stood for decades, they gained access to intriguing new knowledge they had previously only had been able to speculate about. In this fascinating volume, Paul Gregory takes us behind scenes and into the archives to illuminate the dark inner workings of the Soviet Union.
He reveals, for example, the bizarre story of the state-sponsored scientific study of Lenin's brain. Originally conceived to "prove" Lenin's genius, the plan was never revealed to the public for to do so was more than the security-conscious Soviet leadership could have borne. Gregory also exposes the harsh features of Stalin's criminal justice system in which the theft of state and collective property was punished far more severely than the theft of private property. Indeed, the theft of small amounts of grain was punishable by ten years in the Gulag or a death sentence. The author also illuminates the true story behind the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, telling how the ill-conceived incursion was ordered by a Politburo of aging and ill leaders who would not be around to deal with the long-term consequences of their decision.
In addition, the book examines such topics as Stalin's Great Terror, the day-to-day life of Gulag guards, Lenin's repression of "noncommunist" physicians and his purge of intellectuals, the 1940 Soviet execution of 20,000 Poles, and other previously well-concealed tales.


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Scurrilous Provocation
The Four Faces of Stalin
Lenins Brain
Marginals and Former People
The Great Terror
A Tale of Two Sons
Relatives and Falsifying Death Certificates
The Ship of Philosophers
Bolshevik Discourse
Invading Afghanistan
Arbeit Macht Frei Soviet Style
Vladimir Moroz
Illustration Source Notes
About the Author

Who Is the Prisoner Here?
Reasoning with Stalin on Zero Tolerance

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About the author (2008)

Paul R. Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow, holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. The holder of a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, he is the author or coauthor of twelve books and many articles on economic history, the Soviet economy, transition economies, comparative economics, and economic demography including Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (Hoover Institution Press, 2008), The Political Economy of Stalinism (2004), Before Command: The Russian Economy from Emancipation to Stalin (1994), Restructuring the Soviet Economic Bureaucracy (1990, reissued 2006), and Russian National Income, 1885-1913 (1982, reissued 2005). He has edited Behind the Fašade of Stalin's Command Economy (2001) and The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag (2003), both published by Hoover Institution Press and summarizing his research group's work on the Soviet state and party archives. His publications based on work in the Hoover Institution Archives have been awarded the Hewett Book Prize and the J.M. Montias Prize for the best article in the Journal of Comparative Economics. The research of his Hoover Soviet Archives Research Project team is summarized in part in "Allocation under Dictatorship: Research in Stalin's Archive" (coauthored with Hoover fellow Mark Harrison), published in the Journal of Economic Literature.

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