August Imholtz Jr


About Author: 
August has worked with U.S. Government documents for more than 30 years. His articles on Government Documents have appeared in a number of publications, and he was the 2007 recipient of the American Library Association’s James Bennett Childs Award “for a lifetime and significant contribution to the field of documents librarianship.” He currently divides his time between Beltsville, Maryland and Paris, France.
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“One Lousy Sheep”: The 1958 Soviet Denunciation of Nobel Prize Winner Boris Pasternak

In an article in the June 30, 2014, edition of the Washington Post, columnist and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt discusses the harsh denunciation of Boris Pasternak in a 1958 speech. The criticism of Pasternak as a pig occurred toward the end of a long and turgid oration on the subject of the Komsomol’s glorious history and mission by its director, Vladimir Semichastny, who later came to head the KGB. 

The attack on Pasternak, who a week earlier had been named the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for his novel Doctor Zhivago, was, as Hiatt notes, partially dictated by Nikita Khrushchev himself.  That Oct. 29, 1958, speech was broadcast on the Soviet Home Service, translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), and published the following day in the FBIS Daily Report. An excerpt from the 18-page FBIS translation appears below:

However, as the Russian saying goes: “Even in a good flock there may be one lousy sheep” (parshyvaya outsa). We have such a lousy sheep in our socialist society in the person of Pasternak, who has written his slanderous, so-called novel.  He has gladdened our enemies so much that they have bestowed on him—disregarding of course the artistic merits of his trashy book—a Nobel Prize. We have masters of writing, whose works are uncontestable in their artistic merit, but their authors have not been awarded a Noble (sic) Prize. However, for slander, for libelling the Soviet system, socialism, and Marxism, Pasternak has been awarded the Nobel Prize.

“One Lousy Sheep”: The 1958 Soviet Denunciation of Nobel Prize Winner Boris Pasternak

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

Eva Braun (1912-1945)

In his recent review of Heike Görtemaker’s new book Eva Braun: Life with Hitler (New York Review of Books, Vol. 59, No. 7, Apr. 26, 2012), British historian Antony Beevor writes:
Although the American press had strong inklings of Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun as early as May 1939, in Germany only Hitler’s intimate circle knew of her existence. (p. 26)

Springfield Daily Republican (Dec. 31, 1937). Source: American Newspaper Archives.

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

Etaoin and Other Shrdlu in the News

LINOTYPE: THE FILM, a new documentary by Doug Wilson, is now being screened across the U.S.

Etaoin and Other Shrdlu in the News

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

According to the Boeing Corporation’s history of its Bomarc missile,

Source: Boeing.com

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

Libyan Rebel Leaders in FBIS Daily Reports

Libyans Raise the Rebel Flag

Khalifa Bilqasim Haftar and Omar al-Hariri, two of the leaders of the reportedly somewhat disorganized military opposition to Col. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, are not only mentioned in current news reports (see the Sunday, April 3, 2011, edition of The Washington Post), but also in the pages of translations produced and published in the 1980s and ‘90s by the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Here are a couple of the dozens of reports on then Col. Haftar from the FBIS Daily Reports.  First, consider this March 28, 1988 report on Col. Haftar’s decision to join the anti-Gaddafi forces.

Libyan Rebel Leaders in FBIS Daily Reports

Anti-Flirtation: There Ought to Be a Law

February 27, 1923. Miss Alice Reighly, Anti-Flirt Club president, Washington, D.C.

Anti-Flirtation: There Ought to Be a Law

The Muslim Brotherhood Through the FBIS Looking-Glass

Hassan al-Banna

The Muslim Brotherhood Through the FBIS Looking-Glass

Beyond the Lunatic Fringe

  In his highly regarded 2006 Yale Book of Quotations, Yale law librarian Fred Shapiro gives on page 649 the following source for the phrase “lunatic fringe”:
The lunatic fringe was fully in evidence, especially in the rooms devoted to the Cubists and Futurists, or Near-Impressionists. (Outlook, 29 Mar. 1913) This, along with a usage in Roosevelt’s Autobiography (1913), represents the earliest known use of the phrase lunatic fringe.
Shapiro therein follows the entries for “lunatic fringe” found in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 17th edition (2002), the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, 2nd edition (2002), and the Dictionary of Quotations by Bergen Evans (1968), and perhaps other of the numerous quotation dictionaries.

(Source: University of Vermont)

Beyond the Lunatic Fringe

Meddlesome Medals?

What do the following seven people have in common: Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Peter Ayodele Curtis Joseph, Modibo Keita, Shafie Ahmed el-Sheikh, Samora Machel, Agostinho Neto, Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela?  Well surely many things indeed.  For example, if you said they were all important African leaders in the second half of the twentieth century, you would be correct.  Each, however, in addition to any other commonalities, received the Lenin Peace Prize—the Soviet Union’s counterpart to the Nobel Peace Prize. Articles and radio broadcasts monitored, translated, and published in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports discuss the Lenin Peace Prize awards.  By searching on the phrase “Lenin Peace Prize” and limiting results to items from Africa, one gets 22 results in the Readex digital edition of FBIS Daily Reports and Annexes, 1941-1996. Searching for “Lenin Peace Prize” in the Readex database without limiting results by location retrieves some 268 results. Here is one example from the Accra Ghana Domestic Service on how the award was perceived in that country in 1962.
Meddlesome Medals?

Sayyid Qutb in the pages of the FBIS Daily Report and in The Economist's review of a new biography of Qutb

John Calvert’s forthcoming book Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism (London: Hurst & Co., 2010) was anonymously and seemingly fairly reviewed in The Economist, July 15, 2010. Qutb, according to The Economist’s review, and I summarize here, flirted with Sufism but became a secular nationalist in the 1940s, opposed to British rule in Egypt and "Zionist colonization in Palestine." After completing his first major book, Social Justice in Islam, Qutb spent two years in the United States where, according to Calvert (or Calvert’s anonymous reviewer), his final conversion to radical Islamism was solidified. He returned to Egypt and joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1953, a year after Gamal Abdel Nasser and a group of officers overthrew the pro-Western government of King Farouk. Following a 1954 assassination attempt on him, Nasser struck out against the Muslim Brotherhood, and Qutb was one of those arrested and tortured. While in prison he wrote not only his influential book Milestones but also a multi-volume commentary on the Qur’an. In 1966, largely for his statements in Milestones Qut’b was tried, convicted and hanged, thus becoming "a martyr for the cause." He continues to stir up passions as martyrs are wont to do. In the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report, published in print from 1941 to the third quarter of 1996 and now full-text digitally searchable in the Readex FBIS Daily Reports, we find many references to Sayyid Qutb which show to some degree both how he was perceived at the time and how his legacy was received and perhaps misconstrued by terrorist organizations like al-Quaeda.
Sayyid Qutb in the pages of the FBIS Daily Report and in The Economist's review of a new biography of Qutb

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