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


Part of Cambridge Centennial of Flight

  • Date Published: June 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521130431

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • 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    • Based on almost ten years of research in Russian and American archives, the book draws upon previously unpublished sources
    • Includes more than 50 previously unpublished photographs and illustrations drawn from archival and contemporary sources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

    'This is a commendable and interesting book, illustrated with contemporary photographs and posters.' The Slavonic and East European Review (SEER)

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521130431
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Imperial Aviation, 1909–17:
    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, 1917–29:
    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, 1929–45:
    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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