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

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  20 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 Harry N. Abrams (first published February 24th 2009)
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Alfred Searls
Jun 22, 2012 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
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This is a good companion piece if you are reading anything else on the subject. It is not a comprehensive history by any means, but this collection adds to a traditional historical treatment of the revolution and Stalin's time.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
Ostensibly an art book, Red Star over Russia is more of an intimate look at the leaders, artwork, design, and ordinary citizens during the peak of the Soviet Union. So many collections such as this just contain images with scant captions: King's work features contextual copy that drives this work to excellence.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informatief
Zeer interessant!
Peter Hutt Sierra
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
The Communists always did have the best posters. Nothing can quite match the distinctive style of soviet art and for this reason I really did like this book. However as a visual history it is a bit flawed.

This book is unbalanced. The author's obsession with Trotsky may have contributed to this. Perhaps it would have been wiser to focus the book on the early years of the revolution or to publish a separate collection of Trotsky memorabilia.
Benjamin Wetmore
Jul 05, 2010 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
Timothy Corrigan
May 24, 2011 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
Mar 10, 2010 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 closely sitting 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
Jan 13, 2012 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
Benjamin Britton
"Red Star Over Russia is a breathtaking visual history of the Soviet Union, from 1917 to the death of Stalin. It's urgent, cinema-vérité style plunges the reader into the center of the shattering events that brought hope, chaos, heroism and horror to the citizens of the world's first workers' state."


"David King's Red Star Over Russia, a partnership of text and pictures, delivers an icon of the Soviet era, done with an artist
tom bomp
Feb 10, 2014 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
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 17, 2013 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.
Oct 24, 2012 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.
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and inspiring visuals of the socialist ideal.
Brad Scott
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stunning visual history of the Soviet Union up to the death of Stalin.
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography, ussr
A great piece of visual history for art and history fans
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing - incredible stories. Anyone have The Commissar Vanishes?
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