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Item# 39731   $350.00  Add to cart   Show All Images   Download PDF
The Short Soviet Encyclopedia ("Малая Советская Энциклопедия") in 11 volumes, 2nd edition, dated from 1937 to 1947.

Each tome measures 10 " x 7" x 2". The number of pages slightly varies from volume to volume, so 2 inches is an approximation of the average. And so is the weight of slightly under 3 lbs. Russian text. Hardcover, the boards wrapped in brown cloth with embossed frame and the title Short Soviet Encyclopedia, also embossed. The spine features 4 raised bands with 3 labels between them. Head to tail, they are МСЭ (The Russian acronym for "Short Soviet Encyclopedia"), the number of the volume and the first and last word explained in it. All the spines

Each tome measures 10 " x 7" x 2". The number of pages slightly varies from volume to volume, so 2 inches is an approximation of the average. And so is the weight of slightly under 3 lbs. Russian text. Hardcover, the boards wrapped in brown cloth with embossed frame and the title Short Soviet Encyclopedia, also embossed. The spine features 4 raised bands with 3 labels between them. Head to tail, they are МСЭ (The Russian acronym for "Short Soviet Encyclopedia"), the number of the volume and the first and last word explained in it. All the spines are now covered in special textured plastic used for book restoration, making it difficult to see the writing there. Most volumes feature color maps printed on heavy-stock semi-gloss coated paper. However, all photo illustrations are sepia-toned b/w. Circulation 61,500 copies. Published by OGIZ RSFSR Publishers, Moscow.

In fair to good condition. It differs from tome to tome. All of them went through a homespun restoration effort whereby they were repaired using what meager materials could be obtained. All the volumes show some degree of shelf and use wear. The covers, obviously, took the brunt of the decades of use, showing corner bumps, some scuffing, occasional spine tears and mild staining. The internal pages are in much better condition, mostly clean, the paper still quite supple. As far as could tell, there are no missing pages although some show separations from the binding. The text and graphics are bright and clear.

Homespun or not, we consider this restoration a great success as it preserved not only all the abundant information we expect from an encyclopedia but it preserved, in working very readable condition, what truly is a monument to the Stalin era. All the physical wear is less important than the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the mind frame of Stalin's Evil Empire at its most mature stage, from the Great Purges till the first post-WW2 years.

How large do we expect an encyclopedia article to be when it is about someone really important? Here in this edition, the article about Lenin begins on p. 146 and ends on p. 175, 29 pages total. Well, one might say, he was the founder and cornerstone of the Soviet State, perhaps he deserves 29 pages in tiny size font! But wait, let's see the article about Stalin. That one begins on p. 321 and ends on p. 391. At 70 pages, it may well be the world record! Overall, we cannot overstate the excitement this encyclopedia will give a true history buff! This edition is full of surprises. As a side note, the set is full of various newspaper articles, handwritten notes, pages of various material, evidently of interest to a previous owner and showing his encyclopedic scope of interests. We intentionally left it all in for your pleasure. But much more surprising and important is what makes this set truly a rarity: it has articles about multiple "enemies of the people", Beria and Blukher among others, who should have been expunged, removed, the entire volumes reprinted and re-sent to the subscribers, or at the very least, the pages mandatorily torn out as was the common practice for the Stalin Empire.

Please note that the pen in our photo is for size reference only.
$350.00  Add to cart