Inside the Stalin Archives (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Jonathan Brent’s memoir Inside the Stalin Archives is divided into two main parts. In the first, he discusses his first trip to Moscow to negotiate access to various Soviet archives for the planned Annals of Communism series for Yale University Press. The Boris Yeltsin government had officially opened all these archives to scholars, both Russian and foreign, but making that access a reality required quite a bit of negotiation. In the memoir’s second part, Brent discusses various later trips, though in less detail. In particular, only in the first part does he provide significant coverage of his time away from the negotiations.
Brent went to Moscow in January, 1992, to arrange scholarly access to various Soviet and Communist Party archives for the purpose of producing books for Yale University Press. These books were to be coauthored by Russian scholars, who would receive equal pay. The archivists who helped locate the documents would also be paid for their work. Yale wanted exclusive rights to publish outside Russia; there would be no restrictions on publication within Russia. Money was always a concern; only a few of the twenty Annals of Communism volumes published so far have been popular sellers, so the project has always depended heavily on donations. The desire for exclusive non-Russian rights (to prevent being upstaged by other publishers) was perhaps the most difficult negotiating point. Fortunately, the Russian archivists were well...
(The entire section is 1957 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Foreign Affairs 88, no. 5 (September/October, 2009): 159.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 17 (September 1, 2008): 923.
Library Journal 133, no. 18 (November 1, 2008): 77-85.
The New York Review of Books 56, no. 7 (April 30, 2009): 25-28.
The New York Times Book Review, January 25, 2009, p. 14.
The Times Literary Supplement, July 24, 2009, p. 8.
The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2008, p. A17.
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