It's Only A Joke, Comrade!

By Jonathan Waterlow,

Book cover of It's Only A Joke, Comrade!: Humour, Trust and Everyday Life under Stalin (1928-1941)

Book description

'A stunningly original study of Stalinist society... Essential reading for anyone interested in how human beings navigate a path through times of extraordinary upheaval, privation and danger' – Daniel Beer

In the shadow of the Gulag, Soviet citizens were still cracking jokes. They had to.

Drawing on diaries, interviews, memoirs…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

1 author picked It's Only A Joke, Comrade! as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Jonathan Waterlow’s book It’s Only a Joke Comrade looks at humor in the Stalinist period, exploring how average citizens used humor to understand the contradictions of their daily reality and to relieve stress. Looking at the way Soviet leaders were mocked Waterlow investigates how people subversively commented on policies that left them hungry and poorly clothed, joking for example that Stalin rid himself of pubic lice (crabs) by announcing he would create a crab collective farm, causing even the lice to flee in terror. Jokes also touched on policy issues such as five-year plans, repression, and even the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact,…

From Samantha's list on Soviet social history.

Want books like It's Only A Joke, Comrade!?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like It's Only A Joke, Comrade!.

Browse books like It's Only A Joke, Comrade!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Soviet Union, Stalinism, and Joseph Stalin?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, Stalinism, and Joseph Stalin.

The Soviet Union Explore 344 books about the Soviet Union
Stalinism Explore 23 books about Stalinism
Joseph Stalin Explore 31 books about Joseph Stalin