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Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip
The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers
Ilya Ilf , Evgeny Petrov, Erika Wolf

ISBN 9781568986005
Publication date 10/1/2006
6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.5 x 21.6 cm), Hardcover
176 pages, 150 b/w illustrations
Rights: World; Carton qty: 22; (-37.37)

This book is Out of Print

This book has been replaced by a new edition

This book is also available in a Paperback edition

In 1935, well into the era of Soviet communism, Russian satirical writers Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov came to the U.S as special correspondents for the Russian newspaper Pravda. They drove crosscountry and back on a ten-week trip, recording images of American life through humerous texts and the lens of a Leica camera. When they returned home, they published their work in Ogonek, the Soviet equivalent of Time magazine, and later in the book Odnoetazhnaia Amerika (Single-Storied America). This wonderful lost work--filled with wry observations, biting opinions, and telling photographs--is now collected in Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip, the first English translation.

From Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip: "The word 'America' has well-developed grandiose associations for a Soviet person, for whom it refers to a country of skyscrapers, where day and night one hears the unceasing thunder of surface and underground trains, the hellish roar of automobile horns, and the continuous despairing screams of stockbrokers rushing through the skyscrapers waving their ever-falling shares. We want to change that image.

Please note that this hardcover edition is out-of-print and has been replaced by a new paperback edition.

Ilia Ilf and Eugeny Petrov are the authors of the popular Russian satiric novels The Twelve Chairs (1928) and The Little Golden Calf (1931). Both died soon after the publication of Odnoetazhnaia Amerika, Ilf from tuberculosis contracted during his travels in the States and Petrov in a plane crash while working as a war correspondent.

Editorial Reviews

""...Now translated, this is a riveting piece of Americana.""

CNN Traveler:
"Russian satirists (and Pravda journalists) Ilf and Petrov journeyed to the US in 1935 and wrote a jovial and surprisingly affectionate account of their trip around the country. What emerges is a fascinating snapshot of a nation's history and an idea of Soviet-US relations before the Cold War took firm hold."

The Must List: Ten Things We Love This Week, Entertainment Weekly:
"In 1935, two Soviet writers embarked on a Borat-like tour of the U.S. Relive their strange journey in this delightful book."

"Impeccably translated, edited, and introduced, and supplemented by artist Aleksandr Rodchenko's prepublication assessment of the original photos and remarks by Ilf's daughter, Aleksandra, this is riveting, fresh-eyed Americana and--how d'you say?--Sovietiana?"

The Bulletin:
"This brilliant book shows how droll a shift in perspective can be, how a look back at something like Depression US through different glasses may surprise. Does nothing really change? Written and photographed by two Soviet citizens visiting the US in 1935, pulled from archives: you must read it."

Culture & Travel:
"The pair reveal a country made up of a 'majesty of roads,' visit the boyhood home of their beloved Mark Twain, and explain such mysteries as popped corn kernels ('people pour butter on them, sprinkle them with salt, and eat them')."

Very Short List:
"Sorry, Borat, but two sassy Soviet Russians beat you to it. Just published for the first time ever in English, Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip is a lost treasure. . . . It's a cool, srange artifact, but it's also simply a hoot."

Russian Life:
"This new translation of this almost-lost work is a gem. And not just because it is by two of Soviet Russia's greatest writers and humorists. After all, it is always fascinating to hear how others see us, to see what impressions they bring away. Ilf and Petrov were trenchant observers of human nature, and this travelogue of their 1935 trip across America is simply a piece of classic journalism."

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