Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip
The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers
Ilya Ilf, Evgeny Petrov, Erika Wolf
150 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 10/1/2006
|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.
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.