New PDF release: Western Civ

By Allan Bloom

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He was a broad-shouldered, middle-aged man with a deeply lined face and a quizzical expression around the corners of his mouth. He was a Pole and a party member who had fought three years in the Red Army and worked on bridge construction jobs from Warsaw to Irkutsk. After an unsuccessful attempt to call the store-house and try to get some bolts he needed, Ivanov hung up and took Kolya by the arm. 'Come on, let's look the job over,' he said. The two foremen left the shanty together, Ivanof tucking a roll of blueprints into his pocket and swearing good naturedly at the cold, the storehouse manager, the foreigners who projected structural steel with inch-and-a-half bolts, and the telephone operator.

The foremen gathered around the table. The telephone rang incessantly — a welder was wanted at the blowing station, two of the riggers in the gang working on the open-hearth gas line had not come to work. The gang could not hoist the next section of pipe short-handed. Ivanov swore at the absentees, their mothers, and grandmothers. Then he went out to borrow two men from another gang. Kolya wrote out a list of the welders and what they were doing. He wrote it on newspaper. The ink was a semi-frozen slush.

I saw much sweat and blood, many tears. PART TWO. A Day in Magnitogorsk I The big whistle on the power house sounded a long, deep, hollow six o'clock. All over the scattered city-camp of Magnitogorsk, workers rolled out of their beds or bunks and dressed in preparation for their day's work. I climbed out of bed and turned on the light. I could see my breath across the room as I woke my roommate, Kolya. Kolya never heard the whistle. Every morning I had to pound his shoulder for several seconds to arouse him.

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Western Civ by Allan Bloom


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