This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the start of the Cold War. It then sets out the purpose of the book, which is to examine captivity as a dense matrix of ideas, images, and practices. It is, in part, a study of the storytelling that makes popular sense of geopolitics. Metaphors of enslavement played a crucial role in transforming the Soviet Union and China from courageous wartime allies into barbarous foes implacably opposed to the “free world.” The discussion then turns to the international politics of im/mobility, the “slave world” of communism, and sentimental anticommunism.
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