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Dictatorship of the Air
Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia

$31.99

Part of Cambridge Centennial of Flight

  • Date Published: April 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521130431

$31.99
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  • Focusing on one of the last untold chapters in the history of human flight, Dictatorship of the Air is the first book to explain the true story behind twentieth-century Russia’s quest for aviation prominence. Based on nearly a decade of scholarly research, but written with general readers in mind, this is the only account to answer the question “What is ‘Russian’ about Russian aviation?” From the 1909 arrival of machine-powered flight in the “land of the tsars” to the USSR’s victory over Hitler in 1945, Dictatorship of the Air describes why the airplane became the preeminent symbol of industrial progress and international power for generations of Russian statesmen and citizens, The book reveals how, behind a facade of daredevil pilots, record-setting flights, and gargantuan airplanes, Russia’s long-standing legacies of industrial backwardness, cultural xenophobia, and state-directed modernization prolonged the nation’s dependence on western technology and ultimately ensured the USSR’s demise.

    • The first book in any language to answer the basic question, 'What is 'Russian' about Russian aviation?'
    • Based on almost ten years of research in Russian and American archives, the book draws upon previously unpublished sources
    • Includes more than 50 previously unpublished photographs and illustrations drawn from archival and contemporary sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Scott Palmer has given us a remarkably original survey of Russia's aeronautical development between 1909 and 1989 that artfully combines political, technological, military, and above all cultural history into a rich mosaic that yields surprising insights into Russia's attempt to match and overtake its Western rivals."
    Robert Wohl, University of California, Los Angeles

    "Palmer's interesting ,well-illustrated book is a cultural history of aviation in Russia from late czarist days through the horrors of Stalin and WWII."
    Choice

    "Palmer's book is beautifully illustarted and provides the reader with much to think about regarding the place of the airplane in Russian and Soviet culture, society and politics. He does a fine job of fleshing out the continuities between the imperial and Soviet aviation industries." - Steven Maddox, University of Toronto

    "Palmer is to be commended for integrating aviation into a wider cultural and political context. In contrast to more traditional aviation histories, Palmer's account teases out the connections between culture, politics, and the development of the technology. In the process, he illustrates that no history of modern Russia can be considered complete without an account of the history of Russian aviation." - Andrew Jenks, California State University, Long Beach

    "[a] welcome book...Palmer provides an impressively detailed account of Russia's aviation history up to the end of World War II." - Drew Whitelegg, Emory University, The Journal of Transport History

    "In a masterful book, Scott Palmer weaves the rhetoric and reality of Russian aviation from its tsarist start through its Communist rise and collapse. [He] has both provided an excellent study and opened another revealing window into a modernizing Russia." -Jonathan Coopersmith, Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521130431
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Imperial Aviation, 1909–1917:
    1. The dawn of Russian aviation
    2. 'The air fleet is the strength of Russia'
    Part II. The Origins and Institutions of Soviet Red Air Fleet, 1917–1929:
    3. Mandating 'red' aviation
    4. The images and institutions of Soviet air-mindedness
    5. Aeronautical iconography and political legitimacy
    6. Aviation in service to the state
    Part III. Soviet Aviation in the Age of Stalin, 1929–1945:
    7. Aviation and Stalinist culture
    8. 'Higher, faster, farther!'
    9. Red Phoenix
    Conclusion: Aviation culture and the fate of modern Russia.

  • Author

    Scott W. Palmer, Western Illinois University
    Scott W. Palmer is a specialist on the history of modern Russian culture and technology. A frequent traveler to the Russian Federation, he has conducted eight extended visits to Russian archives since 1994. His research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the United States Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the International Council for Research Exchange, and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.

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