The book we just started is making up for the cigar. Big time.
Vladimir Bukovsky's To Build a Castle - My Life as a Dissenter is one of the fastest-reading books we have yet cracked. Published in 1977 and out of print, this book is a gem for our fellow students of Communism.
He was jailed four times from the early 60's to the mid-70's in the Soviet Union. Our two take-aways so far are 1) his sense of humor, and 2) the Post-Stalin changes to the realities of prison life.
As to his humor, he discusses the evolution of "Soviet Man", the Soviet citizen who learns for himself the lies and distortions of Communism. This is 20+ pages of riveting explanation as to each stage of discovery, and each subsequent level of outrage.
As to propaganda, Soviet Man is compelled to read and listen to it all. Not to learn anything, but to stoke his rage. And, as only the Russians can do, they convert these experiences into jokes.
Speaking to propaganda praising the Soviet experience and accomplishments (P. 72):
What's the best way to have plenty of everything?
Plug your refrigerator into the radio network - it will always be full!