Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1939. Item #1095
482 pp., 15 ills. 22,5x17,5 cm. In original full-cloth with illustrations and silver lettering. Very good, some spots.
First and only edition. Very rare with no copies in Worldcat.
A curious example of a book design mixing Stalinist parade editions, Krokodil caricatures and chronicles of the TASS agency. The binding brings to mind a kind of armored locker with metal rivets, the rear side of both covers features an image of a red lock with the Soviet hammer and sickle. It contrasted with a nature view printed on the flyleaves. The design was produced by Evgenii Kogan (1906-1983), known as a book illustrator and type designer. In the wartime period, he created ephemera, posters and a range of frontline sketches. For this book, he produced a red silhouette of a valiant Soviet soldier on the front cover.
A monochrome caricature of a wounded Japanese soldier was printed on the back cover and his head was also placed on the title page. Most likely, this soldier was drawn by another artist. Kukryniksy, K. Rotov, L. Brodaty, S. Gerasimov, P. Sokolov-Skalia contributed to the book design denouncing the enemy through their sharp caricatures and paintings.
The collection was dedicated to Japanese intervention in the Russian Far East during the Civil War, as well as the battles of Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol in the late 1930s. The last one ended soon after this book was published. At the same time, World War II was ahead - being a reminder of the past, the book was a bit of enthusiasm for the future.
The edition contains stories, essays, documents and novels’ pieces by V. Mayakovsky, S. Kirsanov, N. Aseev, I. Utkin, A. Fadeev. V. Ivanov, E. Petrov, M. Shkapskaia. They are divided into sections ‘Intervention’, ‘Spies and Diversionists’, ‘The Far East Is and Will Be Soviet One’ and ‘Khasan Heroes’.
The book includes 8 leaves with photographs of Khasan battle participants who were preparing for military actions or having some rest in peaceful moments. A photograph of laughing Stalin and Voroshilov, as well as triumphal afterword, assured that the Soviet Union was stronger than the Axis Japan.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.