Dreams of Fiery Stars: The Transformations of Native American Fiction
But he is about to meet a different kind of teacher, Mr. Todd wants to know more. Much more. He is about to face his fears and learn the real meaning of power—and the seductive lure of evil. A classic story from Stephen King, Apt Pupil reveals layers upon layers of deception—and horror—as finally there is only one left standing.
Find your new favorite book. Mark Manson. City of Endless Night. Douglas Preston. When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History.
A diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered. Worse still, there's something unique to the city itself that has attracted the evil eye of the killer. As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D'Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city. It'll take all of Pendergast's skill to unmask this most dangerous foe-let alone survive to tell the tale.
The Fallen. Book 4. Star FBI detective Amos Decker and his colleague Alex Jamison must solve four increasingly bizarre murders in a dying rust belt town--and the closer they come to the truth, the deadlier it gets in this rapid-fire 1 New York Times bestseller. Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks.
Cryptic clues left at the scenes--obscure bible verses, odd symbols--have the police stumped. It's a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home.
And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme--with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville. Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case.
Falcon Symbolism & Meaning
Only this time--when one mistake could cost him everything--Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all Rick Riordan. The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos.
In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.
With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor--and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles--somewhere in the American Southwest.
There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon. The Inquisition: Summoner: Book Two. A New York Times Bestseller! A Publishers Weekly Bestseller! A year has passed since the Tournament. Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt's dungeons, but now they must face trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher's downfall.
Educated: A Memoir. Tara Westover. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. And how much must we betray them to grow up? James Comey.
In his book, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Cullen Bunn. Collects Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe?
What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other! There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances.
- The Spirit Keeper?
- Joint and Muscle Dysfunction of the Temporomandibular Joint (Cells Tissues Organs ( Formerly ACTA Anatomica )) (v. 174, No. 1-2).
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All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
Top romance reads. Shadow Warrior. Vittorio Ferraro is a man whose family loyalty knows no bounds. He would die for his siblings and the people they love, but what he really wants is to start a family of his own. Deep down, Vittorio has always known finding a woman who could ride shadows would be nearly impossible—let alone one who could accept his particular needs—and he never expected to find her in the middle of a kidnapping.
But Grace knows her presence is putting the entire Ferraro family in danger. Her monster of a brother will never let her go, but Vittorio has no intention of losing the woman whose shadow matches his own. If you love hot men, sexy women, the good guys winning against the bad guys, love both sweet and ultra steamy , and family that stands together, then this book is all that and even more.
The Mister. E L James. London, Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.
Obsession: Steel Brothers Saga 2. Editorial Reviews "Helen has weaved a delicately balanced story of intrigue, secrets and passion, which practically melts the pages. But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets…. Possession: Steel Brothers Saga 3. Satisfaction Guaranteed. Resist, of course. I say, how about seven nights of O lessons? And at the end, we'll walk away. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until the rules changed Melt: Steel Brothers Saga 4. Editorial Reviews "The chemistry in Melt is explosive! He failed in the worst way. Roth and I are on an open-ended tour of the world.
Roth being Roth, this means missionary in Morocco, reverse cowgirl in Calcutta, bent over the bow of a houseboat in Hanoi, slow and sleepy on St. Anywhere and everywhere, in every conceivable position, and some I didn't know were possible. Life was pretty incredible. Until I woke up in his chateau in France, alone.
On the bed next to me was a note. There were only four words: He belongs to me. E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe. Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist.
Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him? This book is intended for mature audiences. Wolf Rain. The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin.
The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems. This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems--if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters--and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons. How exactly has one good deed landed me in the penalty box? Uncensored advice for a better life. Philip Andrew. Many people wonder how they can become highly successful, not realizing that they hold within them everything they need to achieve all of the success they desire.
Get this book NOW, and learn how to change your habits and transform your life! Sarah Knight. Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? And it will free you to spend your time, energy, and money on the things that really matter. So what are you waiting for? Mike Bechtle. Strange as it may seem, other people are not nearly as committed to our happiness as we are. In fact, sometimes they seem like they're on a mission to make us miserable! There's always that one person. The one who hijacks your emotions and makes you crazy.
The one who seems to thrive on drama. If you could just "fix" that person, everything would be better. But we can't fix other people--we can only make choices about ourselves. In this cut-to-the-chase book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows readers that they don't have to be victims of other people's craziness.
With commonsense wisdom and practical advice that can be implemented immediately, Bechtle gives readers a proven strategy to handle crazy people. More than just offering a set of techniques, Bechtle offers a new perspective that will change readers' lives as they deal with those difficult people who just won't go away. Jen Sincero. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.
Michael Bennett, MD. Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person? Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person? Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole? Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love? Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully? Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger? There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate.
So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection. Based on seven years of her ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.
And Maybe the World. William H. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. On May 17, , Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university's slogan, "What starts here changes the world," he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.
Admiral McRaven's original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life's darkest moments. Jane McGonigal.
An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth In , internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health.
Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier. But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals. Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions. Russell Brand.
New to rent. A Death in China. Carl Hiaasen. An American investigates a murder amid the secrecy and corruption of China in this crime thriller from the New York Times—bestselling author of Razor Girl. After Wang is found dead—and the American embassy fumbles the investigation—Stratton sets out to solve the mystery of the killing on his own. Peony: A Novel of China. Pearl S. A young Chinese woman falls in love with a Jewish man in nineteenth-century China in this evocative novel by the Nobel Prize—winning author of The Good Earth.
In s China, a young girl, Peony, is sold to work as a bondmaid for a rich Jewish family in Kaifeng. Jews have lived for centuries in this region of the country, but by the mid-nineteenth century, assimilation has begun taking its toll on their small enclave. Long celebrated for its subtle and even-handed treatment of colliding traditions, Peony is an engaging coming-of-age story about love, identity, and the tragedy and beauty found at the intersection of two disparate cultures. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Pearl S. Paragon Walk. When innocent Fanny Nash of exclusive Paragon Walk dies in the arms of her exquisite sister-in-law, Jessamyn, Inspector Pitt is assigned to investigate her rape and murder.
Could it be the charming, enigmatic Frenchman? Wealthy Dilbridge, who hosts wild, decadent parties? To keep her sister Emily, Lady Ashworth, company in this difficult time, inquisitive Charlotte once again finds herself in the midst of a deadly mystery. A devastating war has left Earth a nuclear wasteland.
For decades, they have worked to heal their world and its survivors, but their resources are finite. They need to reopen the Way. An interdimensional gateway to a multiverse of realities, the Way was severed from Thistledown to stop an alien invasion and now exists as its own universe. There is a gateway on Gaia that could lead Rhita there—or unleash an even greater apocalypse across the multiverse. Since they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable.
But in , as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At the initiation of a powerful magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot.
When Kate refuses the drink, the chocolate burns through her dress and the witch disappears.
It seems that strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns. This ebook features illustrated biographies of Patricia C. Brother Cadfael's Penance. Book England is torn between supporters of the Empress Maud and those of her cousin Stephen. Like never before, Cadfael must boldly defy the abbot. The good brother forsakes the order to follow his heart—but what he finds will challenge his soul.
Way Station. Clifford D. Hugo Award Winner: In backwoods Wisconsin, an ageless hermit welcomes alien visitors—and foresees the end of humanity. Enoch Wallace is not like other humans. Living a secluded life in the backwoods of Wisconsin, he carries a nineteenth-century rifle and never seems to age—a fact that has recently caught the attention of prying government eyes. The truth is, Enoch is the last surviving veteran of the American Civil War and, for close to a century, he has operated a secret way station for aliens passing through on journeys to other stars.
Still, one final hope remains for the human race. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Way Station is a magnificent example of the fine art of science fiction as practiced by a revered Grand Master. A cautionary tale that is at once ingenious, evocative, and compassionately human, it brilliantly supports the contention of the late, great Robert A. Robin McKinley. I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour.
My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle.
More Than Human. Theodore Sturgeon. Six misfits, one powerful entity. Individually, they are a seemingly simpleminded young man living in the woods who can read the thoughts of others, a runaway girl with telekinetic powers, twin girls who can barely speak but can teleport across great distances, and an infant with a mind like a supercomputer.
Together, they are the Gestalt—a single extraordinary being comprised of remarkable parts—although an essential piece may be missing. But are they the next stage in human development or harbingers of the end of civilization? The answer may come when they are joined by Gerry.
Powerfully telepathic, he lacks a moral compass—and his hatred of the world that has rejected him could prove catastrophic. Moving and suspenseful, lyrical and provocative, the novel was one of the first to elevate science fiction into the realm of literature, and inspired musicians and artists, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Forever Free. In Forever Free, the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master and author of the acclaimed Worlds series returns to that same volatile universe where human space marines once engaged the alien Taurans in never-ending battle. While loyal soldier William Mandella was fighting for the survival of the human race in a distant galaxy, thousands of years were passing on his home planet, Earth. Then, with the end of the hostilities came the shocking realization that humanity had evolved into something he did not recognize.
Offered the choice of retaining his individuality or becoming part of the genetically modified shared Human hive-mind, Mandella chose exile, joining other veterans of the Forever War seeking a new life on a wasteland world they called Middle Finger.
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Making a home for themselves in this half-frozen hell, Mandella and his life partner, Marygay, have survived into middle age, raising a son and a daughter in the process. But what awaits them upon their return is a mystery far beyond all human—or Human—comprehension. Start a new series. William McGonagall is celebrated as the worst poet in British history. There was something irresistible to me about his name, and the idea that such a brilliant woman might be a distant relative of the buffoonish McGonagall.
Rowling Pottermore Presents is a collection of J. The Last Kingdom. A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew--people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater--down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness. The Tournament at Gorlan. When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late.
By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.
From page to screen
Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won. With appeal for both boys and girls, libraries can anticipate a waiting list for this title and great anticipation for the sequel.
Legend: Volume 1. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
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From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death.
But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills. Programmer Ichirou Suzuki is transported to another world. In a foreign land, he finds that life is an adventure that's sometimes fun, sometimes serious, and full of girls!
The Batman Who Laughs Issue 1. But even though evil devoured evil in the collapse of Challengers Mountain, the Dark Knight still has his doubts. Gram lives in the long shadow cast by his father, the late-hero, Dorian Thornbear. Struggling to find his place in a world where politics and wizardry appear to have replaced the need for men of might and main, he must make his own mark. Trapped within the seemingly safe confines of Castle Cameron, Gram faces both love and tragedy.
Win at work. Adam Grant. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life. And it could very well inspire you to change your world. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo. Timothy Ferriss. The guests range from super celebs Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.
This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning?
- Entrepreneurship As Social Change: A Third New Movements in Entrepreneur.
- Symbols and their meaning;
- Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature;
- Calculus unlimited!
What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis? I view myself as an experimenter. The lessons have made me millions of dollars and saved me years of wasted effort and frustration.
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall. It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up.
She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged.
Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Benjamin Graham. The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham taught and inspired people worldwide. Robert Neilson. Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich is a motivational personal development and self-help book by Napoleon Hill.
The book was heavily inspired by the work of Andrew Carnegie. While the title focuses on how to get rich, the author explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. Richard Zeoli. Pitching an idea, presenter. He's fighting it, but its existence is an asset to a grammar-school oik on the rise, like him. Out beyond the bedsits and the stale crumpets and the golf-club ties, there's a giant waking, and it's proof positive that the old order of things is shiftable, that there can be novelty under the sun.
Two years later in the sequel to The Ipcress File , an eggyolk-stained has-been explains pityingly to Harry that there's no way a low-rent place like England is ever going to induce a Soviet scientist to defect. He has 12 of them. And the voters buy it, white heat, "National Plan" and all. This was the Soviet moment. It lasted from the launch of Sputnik in through Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight in and dissipated along with the fear in the couple of years following the Cuban missile crisis in It was already going, in fact, at the time of the election; it was a piece of Wilson's appeal that was premised on a fading public perception and was dropped from Labour rhetoric shortly thereafter, leaving not much behind but a paranoid suspicion of Wilson among egg-stained, old-school-tie spooks.
But while it lasted the USSR had a reputation that is now almost impossible to recapture. It was not the revolutionary country people were thinking of, all red flags and fiery speechmaking, pictured through the iconography of Eisenstein movies; not the Stalinesque Soviet Union of mass mobilisation and mass terror and austere totalitarian fervour. This was, all of a sudden, a frowning but managerial kind of a place, a civil and technological kind of a place, all labs and skyscrapers, which was doing the same kind of things as the west but threatened — while the moment lasted — to be doing them better.
American colleges worried that they weren't turning out engineers in the USSR's amazing numbers. Bouts of anguished soul-searching filled the op-ed pages of European and American newspapers, as columnists asked how a free society could hope to match the steely strategic determination of the prospering, successful Soviet Union. President Kennedy's aide Arthur Schlesinger wrote a White House memo sounding the alarm over "the all-out Soviet commitment to cybernetics".
While the Soviet moment lasted, it looked like somewhere which was incubating a rival version of modern life: one which had to be reckoned with, learned from, in case it really did outpace the west, and leave the lands of capitalism stumbling along behind. Which didn't happen. Which didn't happen so thoroughly that the way the Soviet Union seemed to be between and or thereabouts has been more or less displaced from our collective memory.
In the quick, associative slideshow that assembles itself in our heads these days when the USSR is mentioned, the bits with the flags and with Stalin's moustache now lead on directly to the images of the country's dotage, when old men in ugly suits presided over an empire of antiquated tractor factories before Gorbachev came along and accidentally put the whole thing out of its misery. The era when the place seemed to be in a state of confident, challenging, expansive maturity has fallen off our mental carousel.
If in the 70s the USSR turned out to be only "Upper Volta with rockets" — in the words of an American diplomat unimpressed with the way the metalled roads ran out only a few kilometres outside Moscow — then it must have always, and only, been Upper Volta with rockets. The idea of an enviable Soviet Union utterly fails to compute. We tend to assume therefore that the Soviet moment must have been pure illusion. Perhaps a projection of western fears; perhaps a misunderstanding of what the headline feats such as Sputnik implied about the rest of Soviet life.
It had been a reasonable assumption, for nervous western onlookers in the early 60s, that a society which launched satellites must also have solved simple everyday problems such as supplying lettuces and children's shoes. When it turned out that it wasn't so, that the Hemel Hempstead branch of Start-Rite would have represented unimaginable luxury in a Soviet city, the space rockets stopped signifying a general, enviable "high technology". They started looking like some pharaoh's pet project, a pyramid scraped together on the back of poverty, cruel and a bit ridiculous.
But the image of the USSR that the west briefly nurtured in the late 50s and early 60s was not a pure illusion. It was an exaggeration of something real; a report of a real confidence, a real feeling of success in Moscow which the west helped falsify by translating it into western terms and tricking it out with the west's expectations.
Something really did go right or go well, then, for the Soviet Union, which we're in danger now of tidying away, like all episodes in history that point in a direction not taken and which therefore refuse to fit into the hindsighted narrative we make out of the past for our convenience. The truths learned later about the Soviet economy were quite real, of course. It did indeed prove to be wasteful rather than efficient, cack-handed instead of strategic, alarmingly incoherent rather than terrifyingly rational.
But if we tell ourselves only a case-closed story of communism as an inevitable disaster we miss other parts of the past's reality and foreclose on the other stories it can tell us. Give your imagination permission to engage with some unlikely facts: in the s, the USSR was one of the growth stars of the planetary economy, second only to Japan in the speed with which it was hauling itself up from the wreckage of the war years.
And this is on the basis not of the official Soviet figures of the time, or even of the CIA's anxious recalculations of them, but of the figures arrived at after the Soviet Union's fall by sceptical historians with access to the archives. As Paul Krugman has mischievously pointed out, the USSR's growth record in the 50s elicited exactly the same awed commentary as Chinese and Indian growth does today.
Admittedly, "growth" did not mean exactly the same thing in the Soviet context that it did in, say, the American one average for the period 3. Soviet growth was counted differently, was biased massively towards heavy industry and did not necessarily imply a matching growth in living standards. Yet there had been a palpable transformation in the way Soviet citizens lived. In , as in and , they had been wearing hand-me-downs and living for the most part in squalid, crowded "communal flats" carved out of antiquated pre-revolutionary buildings.
Ten years later, Soviet citizens were wearing new clothes and moving in ever-increasing numbers into new apartments with private bathrooms; they owned radios and pianos and were beginning to own fridges and televisions too. In , the hospital director would be sitting pretty in a sunny new-build out in the Sparrow Hills and driving to work in a well-waxed sedan with the leaping-stag logo of the Gaz company gleaming on its bonnet.
Going by the measure of the capitalism of the 30s, which is what the Soviet Union had first set out to beat in terms of living standards, Soviet life was now spectacularly prosperous. If capitalism had remained unchanged, the Soviet Union would at this point have looked like a reasonable, if tyrannous and polluted, version of the earthly paradise. Mission accomplished, materially speaking.
Instead, of course, capitalism had unfairly shifted the target by doing some growing of its own. But the Soviet march to wealth was not finished. This was only the halfway stage on the road to a far greater abundance. Marx had predicted that communism would come in the most advanced of the capitalist countries, not in backward, roadless, shoeless, illiterate Russia. He had supposed that the plenty of the socialist future would be built on top of all of the cruel-but-necessary development work of capitalism — that socialists would inherit a machine they only had to perfect and to direct towards the satisfaction of everybody's needs, rather than the needs of a few top-hatted owners.
The Russian situation was utterly different, and so the Bolsheviks had been obliged to operate a socialism which was doing capitalism's job for it. They'd bootstrapped an industrial base out of virtually nothing, to produce the steel and cement and machine tools on which any further advance depended. They'd trained a workforce and disciplined it in the rhythms of industrial life. They'd educated a peasant society till it was bristling with science degrees.
They'd also killed several million people, and massively out-brutalised the capitalist version of the industrial revolution, all in the name of humanity; but their information was limited, thanks to the paranoically limited bandwidth of the channel through which they viewed the outer world, and the vision of capitalism with which they compared their own record was Marx and Engels's portrait of Manchester a century earlier as a laissez-faire heart of darkness.
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They could point out to themselves that while they had the smokestacks and the squalor and the cruelty and the black grime on every surface, they also had palaces of culture offering ballroom-dancing lessons and opera at low, low prices. In any case, the job was now done, and history could resume its rightful course. Atop the steel and cement could grow the pastel pagoda of utopia; Marx's utopia, that deliberately underdescribed idyll where wonderful machines purred away in the background, allowing the human beings in the foreground to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind.
Everyone could have anything and be anything. The Soviet state did engage in a certain amount of expectation-management. An eminent academician published a paper explaining that the happy citizens of the future would have all the shoes and socks and underwear they needed, "but this in no way presupposes superfluousness or extravagance". And First Secretary Khrushchev himself reproved intellectuals who might think the future held limitless "freedom" which he clearly associated with sloppiness and disorder.
If a single screw is not working properly, the entire mechanism will ground to a halt. Yet the reason for insisting on the caveats was that the Soviet Union had gone ahead and promised Marx's plenty anyhow. Not as a vague aspiration for the future, either — not as a conveniently floating goal designed to keep the present hopeful. Nope: as a timed, detailed, schedule of events, with picked out as the date that the "material-technical" basis for full communism would be complete and the cornucopias would be switched on. The party congress adopted the imminent end of all scarcity as its official programme, thus making possibly the rashest and most falsifiable promise in the entire politics of the 20th century.
The historian Stephen Kotkin describes the USSR as an edifice "booby-trapped with idealism", and that seems about right. The great grey tyranny ran on, in some sense depended on, hopes big enough to counterbalance the country's defects. Khrushchev really meant the promises that were spelled out with such excruciating frankness in the programme. Dialectical materialism was to imply denial and self-sacrifice no longer. The philosophy was going to pay off in the most literal and direct way; it was going to do what it said on the tin, and bring the materialists their material reward.
It was going to make first Russians and then all their friends the richest people in the world. Naturally this would involve zooming past the United States. The day after? Even richer! Soon, he told the assembled Cubans and Egyptians and East Germans and Mongolians and Vietnamese, Soviet citizens would enjoy products "considerably higher in quality than the best productions of capitalism".
Pause a moment, and consider the promise being made there. Not products that were adequate or sufficient or OK; not products a little bit better than capitalism's. Better than the best. Considerably better. Ladas quieter than any Rolls-Royce.
Zhigulis so creamily powerful they put Porsche to shame. Volgas whose doors clunked shut with a heavy perfection that made Mercedes engineers munch their moustaches in envy. So the confidence that allowed Khrushchev to quip and hector and shoe-bang his way across the world stage was founded partly on a truth about the present, partly on a profound mistake about the future. That the Soviet dream didn't work out, that in Soviet citizens were not going to be strolling in the pleasure-garden of red plenty, we all know. Khrushchev's own colleagues worked it out very quickly.
They ousted him from the Politburo in the autumn of and consigned the programme to unmentionable oblivion.