This book challenges every common presumption that exists about the trafficking of women for the sex trade. It is a detailed account of an entire population of trafficked Albanian women whose varied experiences, including selling sex on the streets of France, clearly demonstrate how much the present discourse about trafficked women is misplaced and inadequate. The heterogeneity of the women involved and their relationships with various men is clearly presented as is the way women actively created a panoptical surveillance of themselves as a means of self-policing. There is no artificial divide between women who were deceived and abused and those who “choose” sex work; in fact the book clearly shows how peripheral involvement in sex work was to the real agenda of the women involved. Most of the women described in this book were not making economic decisions to escape desperate poverty nor were they the uneducated naïve entrapped into sexual slavery. The women’s success in transiting trafficking to achieve their own goals without the assistance of any outside agency is a testimony to their resilience and resolve.
Nearly thirty years after the end of the Cold War, its legacy and the accompanying Russian-American tension continues to loom large. Russia’s access to detailed information on the United States and its allies may not seem so shocking in this day of data clouds and leaks, but long before we had satellite imagery of any neighborhood at a finger’s reach, the amount the Soviet government knew about your family’s city, street, and even your home would astonish you. Revealing how this was possible, The Red Atlas is the never-before-told story of the most comprehensive mapping endeavor in history and the surprising maps that resulted.
From 1950 to 1990, the Soviet Army conducted a global topographic mapping program, creating large-scale maps for much of the world that included a diversity of detail that would have supported a full range of military planning. For big cities like New York, DC, and London to towns like Pontiac, MI and Galveston, TX, the Soviets gathered enough information to create street-level maps. What they chose to include on these maps can seem obvious like locations of factories and ports, or more surprising, such as building heights, road widths, and bridge capacities. Some of the detail suggests early satellite technology, while other specifics, like detailed depictions of depths and channels around rivers and harbors, could only have been gained by actual Soviet feet on the ground. The Red Atlas includes over 350 extracts from these incredible Cold War maps, exploring their provenance and cartographic techniques as well as what they can tell us about their makers and the Soviet initiatives that were going on all around us.
A fantastic historical document of an era that sometimes seems less distant, The Red Atlas offers an uncanny view of the world through the eyes of Soviet strategists and spies.