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Cement (European Classics) Paperback – November 23, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written in the 1920s, this novel, a pioneer in portraying the sociological effects of Communism, examines family life after the sexes are suddenly equal in the labor force of the local cement factory.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: European Classics
  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; Translated edition (November 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810111608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810111608
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By abby schrader on February 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
The 1920s was a great decade for Soviet literature: the works published during this era are thematically- and ideologically-diverse. Yes, there are better-written novels that came out during this period. Nevertheless, Gladkov's Cement is under-rated. I find it fun to read and re-read (which is critical, since I end up teaching it a lot) and it's definitively one of the best vehicles for getting at the tensions that plagued the Bolsheviks in the early years. Pairing this with Abram Room's film, Bed and Sofa, is a great way to address questions of gender in the early Soviet Union.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Blumenthal on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Cement, a classic of socialist realism and an exemplar of the production novel, Fyodor Gladkov portrays the sociological effects of Communism on the inhabitants of a mountain town after the Russian Revolution as they attempt to rebuild their lives under the new economic policies of the Soviet Union. Written to a master plot that controls the most critical elements of the story, the novel illustrates major tenets of Soviet ideology. Task fulfillment is combined with the maturation of the positive hero as he transcends his selfish interests and finds self-fulfillment in the collective cause of Communism. Gleb Chumalov, having distinguished himself in Civil War battles, returns home to discover things have changed dramatically. The cement factory is idle, petit bourgeois values remain, and the local officials are not committed to a reopening of the factory. Moreover, his wife, Dasha, is now the leader of the local Women's Section of the Communist Party, and has no interest in continuing their marriage. Chumalov perceives that the battle for communist survival must now be fought on the economic front and he redirects his energies to accomplish this task. Overcoming worker apathy, red tape, and sabotage, Chumalov mobilizes the proletariat, challenges the bureaucrats, and succeeds in achieving the reopening of the factory on the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution. In a speech marking the completion of the task, Chumalov envisions a wonderful life for future generations under communism. In further development of the motif that sacrifice will lead to a common good, Serge contemplates life after his purge from the Communist Party because of his Menshevik ties: " he, Serge Ivagin, as a personality did not exist.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alt Mayo on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Cement" is a reminder of time when radical socialism seemed possible. We now know that Stalinism was to come down upon the Russian Revolution. But the Bolsheviks did not know what was coming until the true nature of the future bureaucratic state rolled over them in the late 1920's. "Cement" is not a great work of literature, but it is a valuable artifact from the the years before the Five Year Plans and the GULAG crushed naive idealism in Russia.
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