The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia

A New York Times Notable Book, 1997

The lavishly illustrated and often darkly hilarious retelling of Soviet history through the doctored photographs under Stalin.

The Commissar Vanishes has been hailed as a brilliant, indispensable record of an era. The Commissar Vanishes offers a unique and chilling look at how one man–Joseph Stalin–manipulated the science of photography to advance his own political career and erase the memory of his victims. Over the past thirty years David King has assembled the world’s largest archive of doctored Soviet photographs, the best of which appear here, in a book Tatyana Tolstaya, in The New York Review of Books, called “an extraordinary, incomparable volume.”