A Russian Journal

September 21, 2009

I’m halfway through A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and so far it’s been an easy read. Steinbeck delivers his experiences in post WWII Russia in a diary sort of manner that is easy to follow and detailed to the point where I don’t need Robert Capa’s photographs there to help me picture the scene (even though they help).
I can see why it was a book that struggled to gain positive criticism when it was released due to the political atmosphere at the time – the Cold War was about to begin and all Steinbeck and Capa do is interview rural farmers who are rebuilding their homes or describe the solemness that sits in the streets of Moscow. The American public was not interested in what Russian farmers ate for dinner, rather, what the Russian government was planning on doing with their missiles and when.
Today however, we sit safely in our modernly heated homes and can drift away to another time and place and appreciate Steinbeck and Capa for their journalistic drive to stick to their plan of finding out who the people of the Soviet Union are, politics aside. I’m excited to finish the last few pages and see if they can complete their mission.

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