Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952. Reznichenko, A. Hardcover. Set of 2 hardcovers (parts 1 and 2 of the novel) without dust jackets, handsomely embossed. The cover of volume 1 is rather stained, and both are stamped on flyleaf: "Distributed by 'NEWS-FACTS,' 753, Bathurst St., Toronto." Both are illustrated and are bound with a very patriotic red ribbon bookmark.
This 1936 Bolshevik propaganda novel was well-known in the Soviet Union (and 3 feature films were adapted from it), but for unsurprising reasons was not distributed in the United States. What makes these copies so fascinating is the NEWS-FACTS stamp. NEWS-FACTS was the newsletter and publishing wing of the Canadian-Soviet Friendship Society (CSFS) which also published the popular pro-Soviet Northern Neighbors magazine. The CSFS became the USSR's primary clearinghouse of propaganda in Canada and, by extension, an avenue for smuggling propaganda into the United States. Literature bearing the NEWS-FACTS stamp, once its meaning was well-known in America, was sometimes used as evidence in blacklisting hearings against accused communist sympathizers (we were able to find mentions of it in the testimony of W. Jackson Jones, an investigator for the Committee of Un-American Activities in a 1957 hearing transcript). Thus, these copies of the Soviet classic, which are rare enough to find in an intact pair, also come with a bit of intrigue about their former owner, whose very possession of them in McCarthy-era America would have been a dangerous gamble. Very good. Item #64