The Power of Words: A Quotation

“Words shape ideas and ideas shape souls.”
—Adam Gropnik, The New Yorker columnist

Words have fearsome potential, a latent power that tyrant Stalin appreciated and feared.

At a banquet for 40 of the leading writers of the Soviet Union in 1932, Stalin referred to writers as “engineers of the human soul.”

Engineers of the human soul. What a turn of phrase.

Carpenters build with saws and lathes. Writers with words.

Within a decade Stalin had murdered 11 of the 40 present at that 1932 gathering. He understood all too well what words are capable of.

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