13 - Virgin Lands [1962]  pp. 130-138

Virgin Lands [1962]

By George Burchett, Nick Shimmin and John Pilger

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Come East Young Man was Burchett's excursion into the virgin lands of Siberia, which no doubt reminded him of the ‘virgin lands’ of his native Gippsland in Australia. For those who believed that the Soviet Union was an ‘Evil Empire’, the book is pure propaganda. But for those who took a more benign view, the book was a positive assessment of the post-war and post-Stalin USSR, with its hopes, promises and contradictions.

As such, the book is a further representative, after People's Democracies, of a whole genre of writing in which Western left-wing journalists conveyed the optimism of many of the inhabitants of the socialist states to audiences used to the McCarthyite anti-Communism which dominated Western media at the time. There was a genuine belief among such writers that these new regimes offered a viable and rewarding alternative to a failing capitalism, and they attempted to convince their readership with extensive facts and statistics about the new societies.

* * *

At the small town of Ossipovichi, about sixty miles southeast of the Byelorussian capital of Minsk, a significant and moving ceremony took place in the early summer of 1960. Soldiers of the Fifth Red Banner Heavy Tank Division paraded for the last time in a sunny, grass-covered barracks square. Their commander, Colonel of the Guards Ivan Velichko, made a short speech reminding them of the fine record of the Division.

13

Reference Type: bibliography

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China: The Quality of Life (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1976).
Come East Young Man (Seven Seas Books, Berlin, 1962).
Furtive War: The United States in Vietnam and Laos, The (International Publishers, New York, 1963).
Grasshoppers & Elephants: Why Viet Nam Fell (Outback Press, Melbourne, 1977).
Mekong Upstream: A Visit to Laos and Cambodia (Seven Seas Publishers, Berlin, 1959).
My Visit to the Liberated Zones of South Vietnam (Foreign Languages Publishing House, Hanoi, 2nd edn, 1964).
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George Burchett and Nick Shimmin (eds), Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist: The Autobiography of Wilfred Burchett (UNSW Press, Sydney, 2005).
Wilfred Burchett and Anthony Purdy, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space (Panther Books, London, 1961).
Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck, The Whores of War (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1977).
Wilfred Burchett and Alan Winnington, Koje Unscreened (‘Published by the Authors’, Peking, 1953).
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