Stalin’s blue pencil

Joseph Stalin was one of the most powerful and ruthless people of the 20th century. He was also probably the most influential editor who has ever lived. As de facto leader then Premier of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, Stalin used the skills he refined as editor of Pravda to change history: altering eyewitness accounts to suit his political goals, revising the minutes of meetings at which the fates of millions were decided, and excising his enemies from the public record.

Holly Case’s fascinating article in The Chronicle Review (7th October 2013) gives chilling insights into the potential of the editor’s pencil.

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