New York (An Outline). John Kashkeen.
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)
New York (An Outline)

New York (An Outline)

Moscow: Co-operative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the U.S.S.R., 1933. First Edition, First Printing.

Octavo (8 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches; 210 x 150 mm), 157, [3] pages, in illustrated, photomontage wrappers (soft cover).

The mean underbelly of Gotham! This is a Soviet guide to New York, published during the Depression years of the 1930s and highlighting all the bad things about the city: tenements, unemployment, corruption, racism, crime, injustice, and even bed bugs.

To make their ideological points, the Moscow publishers cleverly use short stories and excerpts from some famous leftwing American writers, such as John Dos Passos and Theodore Dreiser, (plus some Communists, like John Reed, Waldo Frank, Mike Gold, Joe North, and A.B. Magil). Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, the country published Western authors without payment or even permission, so it's quite possible many of the authors here never consented to being included.

The book contains a short preface in Russian but the rest of the contents are in English: short stories and articles, newspaper excerpts, and two fold-out maps. This copy lacks the vocabulary supplement by M. Lorie.

In addition, there's a full-page excerpt from "Comrade Stalin's" speech of May 6, 1929, in which he predicts a "revolutionary crisis" in the United States. There are also numerous caricatures and drawings of fat capitalists and downtrodden workers; the title page credits "F. Tahirof" with illustrations and maps.

The wrappers are not exactly subtle: the Statue of Liberty on the front cover holds a dollar bill. On the back cover there's an image of Lenin and a photo of the Capitol building flying a red flag.

The editor and compiler of this book is listed as John Kashkeen, but that's an Americanized version of his actual Russian name, Ivan Kashkin (1899-1963), who was a prominent Soviet translator of Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and other writers.

It's interesting that he includes many excerpts from John Dos Passos here; Dos Passos's political views eventually turned sharply to the Right and his works were banned in the Soviet Union. Likewise, Waldo Frank broke with the Communists a few years after publication of this book.

This book is quite scarce. OCLC shows only 9 institutional holdings: Cornell, New York Public Library, the Hoover Institution, Library of Congress, Harvard, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Most of them appear to lack the supplemental vocabulary that was published with the book.

An oddly fascinating volume showing New York at its worst during the Depression years of the early 1930s. SCARCE.

CONDITION: Heavy soiling and edge wear to wrappers, creasing to corners of numerous pages, some scattered stains, tears in the fold-out maps. Lacking the rare vocabulary supplement. About Fair overall. Item #2420

Price: $1,500.00

See all items in Communism, Propaganda, USSR
See all items by