Review: Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia

Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia by Marianna Tax Choldin was reviewed in The Russian Review.

Marianna Tax Choldin’s memoir is a refreshingly personal one. Her research on Russian censorship does figure throughout the book, but it is not really at center stage. ... For me, her brief chapter ‘Dissertation and Book,’ in which she describes how her first book, A fence around the Empire, came together, is the most valuable one in the book. We need more such accounts for graduate students, nearly all of whom struggle with the immensity of their first big project. Perhaps even more valuable for junior scholars in this day and age would be reading about the course that Tax Choldin’s career took. ... Garden of Broken Statues is a delightful and engaging read ... Tax Choldin’s stories of her friendships in the worlds of librarianship and scholarship, both here and on her ‘Soviet Planet,’ as she calls it, are what most make this a book worth reading. Such stories of personal connection get to the heart of what it means to be a Western student of Russian cultural history. As the scholars of Tax Choldin’s generation retire in ever greater numbers, let us hope that we will soon see the publication of many more books like this one.
— Joe Peschio, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, The Russian Review no. 76 vol. 2 April 2017