Stalin's Meteorologist

Stalin's Meteorologist

One Man's Untold Story of Love, Life, and Death

Book - 2017
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Baker & Taylor
Letters and personal drawings are called upon to explore the 1948 incarceration and later execution of the Soviet Union meteorology department head, and reveal the consequences of political paranoia and trauma of totalitarianism.

Perseus Publishing
This exquisitely illustrated and moving account of an innocent man caught up in the brutality of Stalin's Great Purges is a timely reminder of the human consequences of political extremism
Winner of the 2014 Prix du Style

"Masterful . . . An eloquent addition to a violent episode in the history of science in the twentieth century." —Nature


In 1934, the highly respected head of the Soviet Union’s meteorology department, Alexei Feodosievich Wangenheim, was suddenly arrested without cause and sentenced to a gulag. Less than a year after being hailed by Stalin as a national hero, he ended up with thousands of other "political prisoners" in a camp on Solovetsky Island, under vast northern skies and surrounded by water that was, for more than six months of the year, a sheet of motionless ice. He was violently executed in 1937—a fact kept from his family for nearly twenty years.

Olivier Rolin masterfully weaves together Alexei's story and his eventual fate, drawing on an archive of letters and delicate drawings of the natural world that Wangenheim sent to his family from prison. Tragically, Wangenheim never stopped believing in the Revolution, maintaining that he'd been incarcerated by accident, that any day Stalin would find out and free him. His stubbornness suffuses the narrative with tension, and offers insight as to how he survived an impossible situation for so long.

Stalin’s Meteorologist is a fascinating work that casts light on the devastating consequences of politically inspired paranoia and the mindlessness and trauma of totalitarianism—relevant revelations for our time.

Baker
& Taylor

"In 1934, the highly respected head of the Soviet Union's meteorology department, Alexei Feodosievich Wangenheim, was suddenly arrested without cause and taken to a gulag. Less than a year after being hailed by Stalin as a national hero, he ended up withthousands of other 'political prisoners' in a camp on an island in the north, under vast skies and surrounded by water that was, for more than six months of the year, a sheet of motionless ice. He was violently executed in 1937--a fact kept from his family for nearly 20 years. Olivier Rolin masterfully weaves together Alexei's story and his eventual fate, drawing on an archive of letters and delicate drawings of the natural world which Wangenheim sent to his family from prison. Tragically, Wangenheim never stopped believing in the Revolution. Maintaining that he'd been incarcerated by accident, that any day Stalin would find out and free him--his stubbornness suffuses the narrative with tension, and offers insight as to how he survived an impossible situation for so long. Stalin's Meteorologist is a fascinating work which casts light on the devastating consequences of politically inspired paranoia and the mindlessness and trauma of totalitarianism--relevant revelations for our time"--Provided by publisher.
Draws on archival letters and the victim's in-prison artwork to trace the 1930s gulag incarceration and secret execution of the wrongly accused Soviet Union meteorology department head, weaving together the story of his life and his tragic fate as well as his enduring faith that Stalin would free him. By the award-winning author of Paper Tiger.

Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint Press, 2017
ISBN: 9781619027817
161902781X
Branch Call Number: 947.084 R646s
Characteristics: 179 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Schwartz, Ros

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