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Jack has written more than 500 articles and essays for The Atlantic, Scientific American Mind, Wired, American Heritage, The History Channel Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and many other publications.

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Thursday
Sep202012

H.G. Wells Meets Josef Stalin

I recently read H.G. Wells' novel The Invisible Man and came away impressed by the author's artistry in entertainingly moving a story along while including a serious subplot about H.G. Wellsthe role of science in our society. Wells was active in a variety of left-leaning causes throughout his long literary career, and he made sure he crossed paths with many influential and interesting people.

In 1934 Wells interviewed Soviet leader Josef Stalin Josef Stalin(for what exact purpose, I'm not sure) and discussed with Stalin the differences between liberalism and communism. The interview was surprisingly argumentative and prickly at times. This is how it began:

Wells: I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Stalin, for agreeing to see me. I was in the United States recently. I had a long conversation with President Roosevelt and tried to ascertain what his leading ideas were. Now I have come to ask you what you are doing to change the world. . .

Stalin: Not so very much.

Not a promising start. But things warmed up from there. You can read the entire transcript at the Marxists Internet Archive. I recommend it for a peek into the minds of two of the twentieth century's most forceful figures.

 

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