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Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia Volume III: 3 [Hardcover]

Danzig Baldaev , Damon Murray , Stephen Sorrell , Sergei Vasiliev
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.95
Price: 12.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Oct 2008
This final volume of previously unpublished drawings and photographs completes the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopadia trilogy. Danzig Baldaevs unparalleled ethnographic achievement, documenting over 3,000 tattoo drawings, was made during a lifetime working as a prison guard. The motifs depicted represent the uncensored lives of the criminal classes, ranging from violence and pornography to politics and alcohol. A medieval knight is surrounded by the severed heads of his enemies, a naked woman simultaneously services a man and two dwarfs, a crying President Gorbachev grips a human bone between sabre-like fangs, a group of angels drinks vodka with God on a cloud the meanings of these arresting images are explained to the uninitiated eye. Accompanied by graphic photographs showing the grim reality of the Russian prison system and some of the alarming characters that inhabit it, the illustrated criminals of Russia tell the tale of their closed society.

Frequently Bought Together

Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia Volume III: 3 + Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume II: v. II + Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I: 1
Price For All Three: 42.39

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: FUEL (8 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955006198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955006197
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia- Volume III 27 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not an encyclopedia in the usual sense of a book with entries arranged in alphabetical order. There are a large number of black and white photographs and neat pen drawings of tattoos, accompanied by descriptions and context which are detailed enough to make this book useful to serious students of Soviet/Russian society and the Gulag prison camp system. Readers of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Irina Ratushinskaya will find material to interest them here. Men's and Women's tattoos are depicted, with motifs ranging from the sentimental through the profanely offensive to the blackly humourous.
This is a nicely produced book with cloth covered hardback binding, embossed on front and back covers. As recently as 25 years ago, it's contents would have had limited relevance outside of the Soviet Union. But given the increasing globalisation of crime today, police officers might this book useful, if only to get an idea of what they might be dealing with on a bad day at the office.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia. 26 May 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is truly one of those life changing books. It is surreal, vulgar, explicit and tender in equal measure. I have an interest in tattooing but my wife does not and she was as taken by the Alice in Wonderland otherness of this book as I was. Everything you have never nor will ever need to know about the Russian criminal underground and it's bizarrely profane tattoo culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars tattoo book 20 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
got all three books on this series. lovely collection if you are interested in subject matter . got interested in this area after watching the film eastern promise .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting 6 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover
This book is very interesting (for those who have some curiosity in such subjects). Many images and all tattoos meaning is explained. Found many details that I haven't had a clue about.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A View into a Bizarre World 15 May 2004
By R. Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Every now and then a book comes out that illuminates a part of the world that was not only previously hidden but which could not even be imagined. Such a work is the _Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia_ (Steidl / Fuel), featuring mostly the drawings of tattoos by Danzig Baldaev, with photos by Sergei Vasiliev, and an explanatory essay by Alexei Plutser-Sarno. In these photos and tattoos, which I guarantee you are like nothing you have ever seen before, are reflected the horrors of Russia written on the skins of criminals. As strange as the pictures are, they are not so foreign as to eliminate sadness and tragedy; this is a book of devastation on many levels, and anyone flipping through the images will be enlightened about a very distant world, but also will be distressed and mystified.
The majority of pages are Danzig Baldaev's drawings of tattoos he has collected during a lifetime as a prison attendant. The book could not be published before, but Baldaev has brought it out now as a protest of the "long time all of us lived under the leadership of villains, tricksters, and bandits." There are what are called "legitimate thieves" in Russia. They represent a robber caste, criminals who have their own code of laws and obey it. It is in some part hereditary; there are tattoos here that proclaim proudly "My father was a thief." The legitimate thieves have a strict hierarchy that extends inside and out of prison, and are reputed to have representatives in all levels of the government and police. They have special control of life in "the zone", the prison camps, where most of the tattoos are applied. The tattoos are a type of uniform and a service record. In prison slang, someone's tattoos are known as his (or her) "tail coat with medals." The initiated may read on the criminal's body his crimes, his duration of imprisonment within the zone, his sexual proclivities, and much more. It might seem that bearing the initials of the Unified State Political Administration would attest the bearer's interest in keeping to the party line, but they actually stand for "Oh, God, help me to escape!" A tattoo may testify to "God," but only because the letters of that name are the initials for "I shall rob again." The anti-communist nature of many of these tattoos is obvious. From Lenin to Yeltsin, leaders are depicted as wolves, pigs, or rapists. These convicts are not dissidents, just outcasts who reject any sort of authority except that of their own brotherhood. Grotesquely anti-Semitic pictures of devils have a strange twist; they demonize the Jewish leaders who started the communist state. A swastika means not Nazism but anarchism.
The tattoos show a horrifying eagerness for violence against women, Jews, and politicians. They are funny sometimes, but also bitterly cruel. The photographs of the bearers, however, show tired or shy faces, or even angelic ones with eyes looking heavenward. This is a disturbing and astonishing book of a subculture and a way of life still playing a role in current affairs.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surreal stuff 14 Jun 2004
By John H. Haskell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I lived in Moscow for five years and had heard about criminal tattoos but had never seen any. This book was a fascinating, but depressing view of a completely different world and world-view from that of the Russians I knew. If you understand Russian and something of Russian culture the book is extremely interesting, but interesting even if you don't. My only complaint is that the tattoos are fascinating but the book is relatively light on text.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly an inside look at an exclusive society 13 Mar 2007
By Seth Santill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I bought this book, I flipped through the pages and looked at all the tattoos before reading anything. The tattoos were interesting enough, but I had to read the introduction to understand the culture that was molded wholly around the artwork itself. This encyclopedia gives a detailed account of what having a tattoo means in the culture of Russian prisoners. In many societies, tattoos mean very little. Many people get them on a whim, or go into a parlor knowing they want one, but not knowing what they want (probably a butterfly on her back, or a tribal band around his arm). This book explains how tattoos among Russian inmates serve as their resumes--who they are, what they've done, where they rank in the society, who they serve, how they feel about the state... the culture made possible by the tattoos is extremely fascinating, but you have to either be an inmate or read a book written by a credible source (read: this book) to find out about all the facets of it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book 28 Mar 2006
By hombre pollo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
this is an excellent book for those interested in tattoo art from other countries. this book has a lot of sketches describing each tattoo and its meaning. it also has actual pictures of russian inmates with their facinating prison tattoos. i would not recomend this book for anyone under 18 since some of the tattoos/sketches of tattoos are extremely violent and pornograhic. But facinating at the same time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Tattoos 18 Jan 2014
By Skyeyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those who want detailed knowledge on Russian criminal tattoos. In conjunction of parts I and II, it's an education in body art and crime.
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