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Selling to the Masses: Retailing in Russia, 1880–1930 (Pitt Russian East European) Paperback – December 28, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A welcome addition to the deepening conversation about whether and how a consumer culture developed in late tsarist Russia and whether or not that culture survived past 1917. Rather then ending her book in 1917, [Hilton] brings her story through the revolutionary decades and into early Stalinism. In this way, her book revises traditional periodization and challenges the idea that the Revolution destroyed whatever retail culture was emerging at the end of the old regime. Despite the Bolshevik state’s attempt to politicize retail after 1917, it could never direct consumer desires in the ways that it intended."
—The Journal of Modern History


“Tracing common motifs across a turbulent half century in Russian history, Hilton constructs a compelling, engaging argument about the importance of retail culture in the development of a modern urban society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. . . . Highly recommended.”
—Choice


“This book will be of interet to scholars of culture, gender, and politics. Smoothly, yet pointedly written and thoughtfully organized . . . a little something for everyone in these pages.”

—The Russian Review



“Hilton has presented a arich and rewarding analysis of the attitudes and policies that shaped retail commerce in late imperial and early Soviet Russia. She provides useful points of comparison by consistently keeping an eye on analogous developments in Western Europe.”

—The NEP Era



”A masterful and engaging study.”

—Slavic Review



"Hilton offers a well researched book on Russia's stores, shops, retail arcades and marketplaces from 1880 to 1930. . . A compelling argument that retail space impacts the construction of social identities . . . and that consumerist culture goes beyond consumption as a series of interrelated acts organized around the key activities of buying and selling."
—Slavic and East European Journal


"At once entertaining and scholarly, ‘Selling to the Masses’ provides intriguing insights into the changing relationship between retailers, consumers and the Russian state during one of the most turbulent periods of that country’s history. Hilton painstakingly demonstrates how in the late tsarist and early Soviet periods retailing in Russia functioned as a site of ideological struggle, a means of imposing social order and affirming national identity. As such, her book will be of immense interest to students of Russian history, Soviet studies, business history, gender studies and anthropology.”

—Slavonica



"One of the strengths of Hilton’s book is its vividness. The author writes well and her sketches of shops, shoppers and shop workers go some way to offering the reader an accessible and carefully realized entry into the world of late imperial and early Soviet consumerism.”

--SEER (journal of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

About the Author

Marjorie L. Hilton is assistant professor of history at Murray State University.

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