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But scholar Sheila Fitzpatrick is famous for letting the common people and the facts speak for themselves, in all their complexity. Her new book on Soviet life in the 1930s--based on research in newly opened archives--does for urbanites what her Heldt Prizewinning Stalin's Peasants did for rural victims. The many witnesses in this fascinating horror story cast doubt on Stalin's notorious 1935 slogan "Life has become better, comrades; life has become more cheerful."
A comment made by a victim of Ivan the Terrible would be more apt: "We Russians don't need to eat; we eat one another and this satisfies us." Famine, caused by bad weather and worse policies, plagued the decade, and life became a chronic struggle to wrest crumbs from an incompetent bureaucracy. Stalin's sly methods of deflecting blame from the state onto allegedly disloyal citizens provoked orgies of denunciation (which could backfire on denouncers). A mad starch factory director forbade comrades to get shaves or haircuts at home--it would have been disloyal to the factory's hairdresser. One kid, Pavlik Morozov, reported his father for grain hoarding in 1937, was murdered by relatives, and became a national hero to kids. Andrei Sakharov's future spouse Elena Bonner was shocked at her 9-year-old brother's response to his father's arrest: "Look what these enemies of the people are like--some of them even pretend to be fathers." The celebrated Moscow Children's Theater put on The Squealer, a drama strikingly like Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.
Fitzpatrick gives a sense of what it really was like to live under the satanic circus master Stalin: it was beyond Kafka, and it was bloody hard work. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Excellent research on a tumultuous era. Good description of how Stalin's policies affected every level of Russian society. Read morePublished 26 days ago by J Michael McDade
If you like this kind of book (which a lot of people would find fantastically dry and uninteresting) you will like this one. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Susan W. Hawn
This attention to the smallest details, that is a distinguishing feature of every real honest academic researcher, is above any other compliment. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Paul V. KATCHALOV
Sheila Fitzpatrick manages the almost impossible with this book and that is to put into human terms what life was like for millions of ordinary people in the Soviet Union under... Read morePublished 13 months ago by keetmom
Good book, value for money, gave a decent insight into what life was like under communism and specifically under Stalin.Published 14 months ago by Sarel de Bruin
Quick service and item as described. Would recommend and use this provider again.Published 15 months ago by d.r.
La metodología y la rigidez de las fuentes lo hacen un libro totalmente creíble,
Lo debe leer todo aquel que viva en un sistema q no sea democrático ,... Read more
The author's writing style seems to give a good feel for these times in Stalin's society. Am looking forward to starting on the next 2 books authored in full or in part by Dr. Read morePublished 16 months ago by papayaman