BASEES is delighted to announce that the George Blazyca Prize, 2017, to be awarded at the 2019 Annual Conference, will go to Professor Melissa Feinberg (Rutgers University) for Curtain of Lies: The Battle over Truth in Stalinist Eastern Europe (Oxford University Press 2017). The judges’ citation reads as follows:
This is a meticulously researched and highly readable monograph which remains unhappily relevant in today’s ‘post-truth’ world. Feinberg investigates the social consequences of the climate of fear and preoccupation with ‘tropes of truth and lies’ shared by the USA and USSR. East European refugees, interviewed by Western researchers, tended to portray their former lives in black and white; Feinberg argues that, even while they disbelieved the content of communist propaganda, they were successfully socialised into viewing the world in polarised terms. Refugees’ stories of fear of informers and shortages, and hopes for US intervention, helped shape the perceptions of Western governments regarding the Communist bloc. Although it might not seem possible to find much new to say about Cold War propaganda, this is a fresh and original take on the period, with some fascinating empirical detail (for example, about rumours that US troops were preparing to liberate Eastern Europe with the aid of sleep-inducing bombs).
Jury: Prof. Anne White, UCL and Prof. Nigel Swain, University of Liverpool
BASEES has established the George Blazyca Prize in recognition of the outstanding contribution to its field of study made by the late George Blazyca.