The Bibliographic Legacy of the Cold War

Walking around a used book store in Washington, D.C. I am reminded of another as yet unresolved dilemma left over form the Cold War: what to do with all the really narrowly focused specialty books on the Soviet Union for which all the retired Kremlinologists no longer have any use. You go to the Russia section in the store and it is like the PC book section: full of titles so arcane to the average used book store buying agent that they have no idea that they are the dupe to someone’s need to offload a bunch of obsolete books. Instead of, say, a few general histories of Russia in the Nineteenth Century or some modern books on Putin’s Russia, what you have are dozens of heavily thumbed tombs dating from the Sixties and Seventies on topics such as the persistence of the third five year plan in Soviet economic planning or the roll of the Politburo in ideology formation, 1954-1960. Just like many used book stores don’t buy PC books, D.C. used book stores should adopt a policy of no books on the Soviet Union by former CIA Directorate of Analysis employees.

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