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Red Star over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from the Revolution to the Death of Stalin

4.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  85 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Red Star Over Russia is a breathtaking visual history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the death of Stalin, using a vast array of material including posters, photographs, paintings, magazine covers, advertisements, and ephemera to illustrate the dramatic birth and eventual decline of the Soviet Union. The book's urgent, cinema verite style plunges the reader into the shatt ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Abrams (first published February 24th 2009)
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Alfred Searls
Jun 22, 2012 Alfred Searls rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
David King’s sumptuous visual history of the Soviet Union is an outstanding fusion of the graphic reference work and the compelling historical account. Its blend of superb photography, creative and influential agitprop and art that was so avant-garde it could have qualified as reconnaissance, leaves you almost overwhelmed. Where to begin you ask yourself as you leaf through 350 pages filled with images that sharpen your curiosity and demand your immediate attention. Well, here’s my advice … begi ...more
tom
Feb 14, 2014 tom rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history, art
The photos chosen are mostly pretty good, it just didn't really grab me. It sort of avoids art mostly outside of designs on journals and propaganda posters so the art is not super top quality. The choice of photos also avoids photos of every day life mostly and there's few photos of major events and buildings and stuff so it's sort of a weird mix that just didn't appeal to me. Also the view of Soviet history is a bit naff but that's typical.

I recommend this if you're interested in the art of th
...more
Benjamin Wetmore
Jul 05, 2010 Benjamin Wetmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and liked the style.

King focuses a lot on the show trials to the exclusion of other aspects of Soviet life, and his admiration for Trotsky shines through a bit too much.

It also feels as though he ignores some of the more sensational aspects of the Soviet regime, such as Beria's reign of terror, perhaps not as a way to avoid those issues, he certainly mentions them several times in the captions, but in ignoring those things he makes the overall narrative of the book more
...more
Jeff
Mar 10, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it
"Red Flag Over Russia", celebrates graphic art from the 1917 revolution to the death of Stalin. There are many images that command attention, but there is one that especially remains indelibly etched in my mind. It is a warm, softly focused, sepia toned print of six young men closelysitting together. They are bathed in an ethereal, diffused light that filters through a near by window, connoting a kind of confident serenity. Were they brothers? Or maybe a tight knit group of university students? ...more
Timothy Corrigan
May 24, 2011 Timothy Corrigan rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, comprehensive and jammed with so much information (in very small type), it's probably the only book to ever give me museum fatigue.

If you're looking for visual reference material, regardless of whether or not you're interested Russian history, this is an amazing resource.

However, reader beware, the stunning graphic design shares the pages with many, many photos of pure horror. In fact, I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that it includes one of the most existentially horrifying p
...more
Aaron
An extraordinary chronicle of 20th century Russia through pamphlets, posters, magazine pull outs and more -- well worth the price of admission. I enjoy reading this particular transitional chapter of Russian history and King provides a more than sufficient balance between straight research and a more lovingly assembled art book. His work in putting the book together was assuredly grueling and it shows, everything is documented and everything is cited, meticulously.
Cams
Aug 28, 2012 Cams rated it it was amazing


This book had me mesmerised from start to finish. Some of the imagery is incredibly moving, particularly the war scenes. This is a fascinating collection of pictures and posters from an important period in European history. Stalin's rise to power was well covered and gave a real insight into his rise and paranoia. Anyone with even a passing interest in this region will find this book fascinating I'm quite sure. As it says in one of the testimonials, buy two—one for yourself and one to give away
...more
Keith
May 27, 2013 Keith rated it it was amazing
A superb visual companion to the history of the Soviet Union with excellent informative commentary by King accompanying the images. The photographs bring the period hauntingly back to life and the graphic art illustrations are captivating. My only criticism is the paucity of material on the Ukrainian holodomor and the Gulags - both immensely significant for an understanding of Soviet history. That aside, the book is outstanding.
Kraychik
Oct 24, 2012 Kraychik rated it it was amazing
Nothing I can add to the great reviews before me. A fantastic photographic history of the Soviet Union, capturing ordinary and extraordinary events, people, propaganda, and everything in between. A MUST-READ supplement to those who have a deep interest in the history of the Soviet Union - it brings your knowledge to life and adds the important visual dimension.
Ben
Jan 06, 2010 Ben rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing - incredible stories. Anyone have The Commissar Vanishes?
Brad Scott
Jul 12, 2009 Brad Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stunning visual history of the Soviet Union up to the death of Stalin.
John
Dec 28, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and inspiring visuals of the socialist ideal.
Martin
Nov 19, 2009 Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography, ussr
A great piece of visual history for art and history fans
Jason McCracken
Mar 08, 2013 Jason McCracken rated it it was amazing
The most amazing coffee table book I've ever seen...
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David King is the author of "Finding Atlantis", "Vienna 1814", and, most recently, "Death in the City of Light".
A Fulbright Scholar with a master's degree from Cambridge University, King taught European history at the University of Kentucky before becoming a full-time writer.
More about David King...

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