In 1946 John Steinbeck and the photographer Robert Capa spent a month travelling in the Soviet Union. Here they find themselves in the Ukraine, knocked sideways by the strength and joie de vivre of the farm girls.

After another long day of hard physical work in the fields, they turned up ready to dance. And since this was right after the war and there weren’t enough men to go around, they just danced with each other.

Steinbeck was impressed by their zest for life and fun. His entrancing slim travel journal includes photos of the dancing girls taken by Capa.

‘The energy of these girls was unbelievable. All day they had been working in the fields, since daylight in fact, and yet after one hour of sleep they were prepared to dance all night.’


Source: John Steinbeck, A Russian Journal, with photographs by Robert Capa (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999 (1948)), p. 94

Photo credit: Ahmad Odeh at unsplash


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