In 1953, just after Stalin's death, the Soviet state machine tool publishing house released A. A. Kanaev's From the Water Wheel to the Atomic Engine (Ot vodianoi mel'nitsy do atomnogo dvigateli). Like other books and articles published in the popular and scientific press in the USSR in this period, From the Water Wheel to the Atomic Engine explored the political, economic, and cultural significance of an incipient “atomic century” and touted the nearly limitless applications of the power of the atom in agriculture, medicine, and industry. Indeed, there was little doubt among scientists, engineers, economic planners, and party officials that the Soviet Union would soon enter the stage of “communist construction”: communism would be achieved within their lifetimes, owing to the omniscient leadership of the Communist Party and on the basis of the achievements of science and technology. By the end of the decade, the average Soviet citizen, too, came to believe that the glorious future had arrived. Many people wrote letters to prominent physicists with suggestions on how to tame the power of the atom to improve the quality of life. For citizens, scientists, and officials alike, successes in atomic energy provided undeniable confirmation that at long last society had embarked on the final leg of the long journey to communism.