Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s

Everyday Stalinism Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times Soviet Russia in the s Here is a pioneering account of everyday life under Stalin written by one of our foremost authorities on modern Russian history Focusing on urban areas in the s Sheila Fitzpatrick shows that with

  • Title: Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s
  • Author: Sheila Fitzpatrick
  • ISBN: 9780195050004
  • Page: 107
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Here is a pioneering account of everyday life under Stalin, written by one of our foremost authorities on modern Russian history Focusing on urban areas in the 30s, Sheila Fitzpatrick shows that with the adoption of collectivization and the first Five Year Plan, everyday life was utterly transformed With the abolition of the market, shortages of food, clothing, and allHere is a pioneering account of everyday life under Stalin, written by one of our foremost authorities on modern Russian history Focusing on urban areas in the 30s, Sheila Fitzpatrick shows that with the adoption of collectivization and the first Five Year Plan, everyday life was utterly transformed With the abolition of the market, shortages of food, clothing, and all kinds of consumer goods became endemic It was a world of privation, overcrowding, endless queues, and broken families, in which the regime s promises of future socialist abundance rang hollow We read of a government bureaucracy that often turned everyday life into a nightmare, and of the ways that ordinary citizens tried to circumvent it, primarily by patronage and the ubiquitous system of personal connections known as blat And we read of the police surveillance that was ubiquitous to this society, and the waves of terror, like the Great Purges of 1937, that periodically cast this world into turmoil Fitzpatrick illuminates the ways that Soviet city dwellers coped with this world, examining such diverse activities as shopping, traveling, telling jokes, finding an apartment, getting an education, landing a job, cultivating patrons and connections, marrying and raising a family, writing complaints and denunciations, voting, and trying to steer clear of the secret police.

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    About " Sheila Fitzpatrick "

  • Sheila Fitzpatrick

    Sheila Fitzpatrick born June 4, 1941, Melbourne is an Australian American historian She teaches Soviet History at the University of Chicago.Fitzpatrick s research focuses on the social and cultural history of the Stalinist period, particularly on aspects of social identity and daily life She is currently concentrating on the social and cultural changes in Soviet Russia of the 1950s and 1960s.In her early work, Sheila Fitzpatrick focused on the theme of social mobility, suggesting that the opportunity for the working class to rise socially and as a new elite had been instrumental in legitimizing the regime during the Stalinist period Despite its brutality, Stalinism as a political culture would have achieved the goals of the democratic revolution The center of attention was always focused on the victims of the purges rather than its beneficiaries, noted the historian Yet as a consequence of the Great Purge , thousands of workers and communists who had access to the technical colleges during the first five year plan received promotions to positions in industry, government and the leadership of the Communist Party.According to Fitzpatrick, the cultural revolution of the late 1920 and the purges which shook the scientific, literary, artistic and the industrial communities is explained in part by a class struggle against executives and intellectual bourgeois The men who rose in the 1930s played an active role to get rid of former leaders who blocked their own promotion, and the Great Turn found its origins in initiatives from the bottom rather than the decisions of the summit In this vision, Stalinist policy based on social forces and offered a response to popular radicalism, which allowed the existence of a partial consensus between the regime and society in the 1930s.Fitzpatrick was the leader of the second generation of revisionist historians She was the first to call the group of Sovietologists working on Stalinism in the 1980s a new cohort of revisionist historians.Fitzpatrick called for a social history that did not address political issues, in other words that adhered strictly to a from below viewpoint This was justified by the idea that the university had been strongly conditioned to see everything through the prism of the state the social processes unrelated to the intervention of the state is virtually absent from the literature Fitzpatrick did not deny that the state s role in social change of the 1930s was huge However, she defended the practice of social history without politics Most young revisionists did not want to separate the social history of the USSR from the evolution of the political system.Fitzpatrick explained in the 1980s, when the totalitarian model was still widely used, it was very useful to show that the model had an inherent bias and it did not explain everything about Soviet society Now, whereas a new generation of academics considers sometimes as self evident that the totalitarian model was completely erroneous and harmful, it is perhaps useful to show than there were certain things about the Soviet company that it explained very well.


  • This book was written both at the height of the openness of former Soviet archives in Russia and at the height of interest in “Alltagsgeschichte” or the History of Everyday Life. Although this term was new in the 1990s, Fitzpatrick herself had long been interested in examining the social history of Soviet Russia “from below,” as against those historians who insisted that all aspects of Soviet life were decided at the level of the State, making the State the only aspect worth studying. Th [...]

  • Confession: I am only two-thirds of the way through this book. But I've been reading it almost without a break for the last 12 hours. Because from the first page, I have felt as if I were reading some kind of thriller written about daily life in Stalinist Russia by a very talented writer & scholar who has researched everything thoroughly and only included the most interesting and/or pertinent bits in her narrative…. "Extraordinary times," indeed! Utterly fantastic, horrible, gut-wrenching [...]

  • Written by a liberal american historian, it's no surprise this book has lots of stereotypical anti-communist terms or phrases, which includes but is not limited to: Regime, Slavery comparisons, comparisons to fascism, Totalitarian(i think), and obviously Stalinist/Stalinism. It may be odd to say Stalinism is this context is a buzzword, considering the book seems like one that would actually discuss it, but it still feels a buzzword thrown around at times. Their comments about Marxism or more so [...]

  • Excellent book by one of the grande dames of Russian and Soviet history. It captures the texture of daily life for ordinary people in Stalinist USSR. Many books recount the dramatic horrors of living during the Civil War, collectivization of the peasants, the great purges--but this focuses on how "small" people went about their days--confronting scarcity, propaganda, zealots, work politics, errant spouses, and their revolts through jokes, accidents, drinking and suicide. This is well researched- [...]

  • I enjoyed the book, but knew what I was getting into. This is a book about everyday life of people in Russia, informed by their diaries and post World War II interviews with refugees from the USSR. The author is an expert on Russian history, but I am not and had to do some background searches on to feel comfortable reading the book. I have posted a couple of things on my blog discussing the book in more detail:stconsultant/2013consultant/2013

  • My only complaint about this book is that the type is so small. The content is great, how did citizens of the Soviet Union survive? I had no idea about the hardships these people faced, and what kept them going. Yet for all of communism's shortfalls, there were also some truly amazing human achievements accomplished during Stalin's reign. The mix of terror, nationalism, and modernization at any cost truly created a new type of soviet person.

  • It's another great textbook, but I have to dock one star because of that. It is not something to pick up for pleasurable reading that is unless you are a sadist who enjoys reading about the literal and figurative destruction of a entire nation of people by Stalin. Fitzpatrick's offering is a must read for this era in history.

  • Sheila Fitzpatrick’s Everyday Stalinism, like many of her works, is concerned with the experiences of society under the Soviet regime rather than the state, but here she takes her research a step further and seeks to uncover what everyday life was like for the urban Soviet citizen in the 1930s. This is no easy task for any era of Soviet history, but is particularly difficult for a population that was living under a Stalinist administration wherein one could be sent to prison for even imagined [...]

  • This book was alright. If you are looking for a history of Russia during Stalin's regime that also portrays "everyday Stalinism" I would recommend instead The First Socialist Society (by Hosking) and The Forsaken (by Tzouliadis). These two books give a real, painful account of the terror under Stalin and the despair felt by many Soviet citizens as well as Americans who emigrated to the Soviet Union, lured by the false promises of a socialist society. I didn't love that Stalin was just a name in [...]

  • A very strong and important history text. Narrating the history of a time of great political change through the prism of the lives of ordinary people clearly stems from two assumptions that I admire: first, in order to fully understand political order and its change, one has to both zoom in and zoom out in the big picture; second, the everyday life of people remains the truest measurement tool for what exactly is developing in the high stages of political power. In the conclusion, S. Fitzpatrick [...]

  • Robert Conquest, in “The Great Terror” gave us a history of Stalin’s rule including the mass arrests, show trials and purges and in “Gulag”, Anne Applebaum gave us a history of the system of gulags from the Russian Revolution through to the Gorbachev era. In this work, Fitzpatrick presents life under Stalin as it was for the everyday person, living with shortages, queuing for hours at shops rumoured to be receiving a delivery, living with informers and being careful what to discuss, ev [...]

  • This is one I've had on my bookshelf for several years, ever since a Stalinist Russia history class I signed up for and then dropped back in college. It was really enlightening as far as providing a look into how common people lived their lives day to day under Stalin - most of the information I've gotten in the past about the Soviet Union has concerned the upper classes/intelligentsia or those specifically targeted as enemies of the regime (kulaks, etc). There's some really interesting stuff in [...]

  • This book falls between Research and Popular History but does neither justice. The writing style is hard to hold onto at times and can be difficult to understand. I found that the chapters jumped around a bit and that their was no real focus as I had hoped. She left out work(though she explained why) and I found that odd for a book about ordinary life. And at times I felt that the book wasn't even about everyday life. In the end it can be a good secondary source, and has excellent research notes [...]

  • I had to read this for my Stalinism class but this wasn't too bad. As far as a history book goes, Fitzpatrick kind of veered off the path of traditional history texts, forgoing the application of theory and instead presenting more of an anthropological look into the daily lives of people in Stalinist Russia. By using personal stories and other anecdotes as her main source, Fitzpatrick delivers a far more engaging, personalized account of the average person in urban 1930s Russia. Everyday Stalini [...]

  • It seems like I've been reading this book for years, mainly because once I got a few pages done, my eyelids grew heavy and I wanted to take a nap. This is not the most exciting or engaging book on the Soviet Union, but it is informative if you can get past the long dense paragraphs. The author lets the Russians speak for themeselves, which is good, but she doesn't let them carry the narrative, which isn't so good. I did like her conclusion, in which she uses some interesting metaphors to illustr [...]

  • Sheila Fitzpatrick is a genius.I've actually a few social histories on Stalinist Russia for my degree and this by far the most detailed, coherent and incredibly concise account of lives under the Stalinist system. She uses almost a narrative style to, very vividly depict, the abject living conditions of USSR during 1930's along with a great insight into the tools of propaganda utilized and not to mention its immense bureaucratic power apparatus, along with of course the shocking years Terror tow [...]

  • A fascinating and enlightening account of everyday life in 1930s Russia. This book makes excellent reading alongside more grand narratives of Stalinism and early 20th century Russian history. My main criticism would be Fitzpatrick's occasional heavy-handedness in pitching the 1930s experience of Russians under Stalin to an American audience.The print in the book is very poor. Not only is the typeface cramped and too small to be comfortable, but in my copy is also distorted on practically every p [...]

  • Have to knock the rating down some because of some inexcusable spelling errors. I mean, "Comunist" is not a word, people. Run spellcheck, at least!! There were a lot of really noticeable errors.Other than that, this was a somewhat interesting, very well-researched book about what it was like to live in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. The book covered topics such as food shortages, family life, the class system, etc. Some parts were more interesting than others, I thought.

  • This book contains an awful lot of data, but the author tries to pull it all together. It's a bit dryer than The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia by Orlando Figes. It presents a pretty clear picture of what urban life was like in the 1930s under Stalin.

  • Read this as a class assigned reading. The book is very hard to follow and jumps around from year to year out of order. It is arranged by category or subject so there is not really any chronological order to it. It is a difficult read, sometimes hard to grasp exactly what Fitzpatrick is trying to convey, however if you can make it through the muck, there is some interesting history of the Soviet Citizen's experience under 1930s Stalinist rule.

  • This is a very well researched book and it's interesting material. It does get a little repetitive, though, so if you read too much at once it becomes a bit of a slog. Definitely a book I would recommend reading in increments.

  • It is an excellent introductory book on Stalinism. Although it is not the most original book in Soviet history, nor does it provide a new information nor a genuine theoretical discussion, it provides good overall picture of the life of ordinary people in Soviet Union in 1930s.

  • the brilliance of this historical study lies in the balanced examination of 'humanity' in a specific period of time in human history, rather than creating the dichotomy of 'victims' and '(state) power'. powerful and beautifully written.

  • This is a very fascinating and broad account of the lives of "everyday" Russians during the Stalinist years. The author draws from a large resource of sources such as letters, cartoons, and interviews in this account.

  • I was surprised at how balanced it was, and how really ordinary life in the USSR was. On balance Kirkpatrick does her subject justice, although there is plenty of underhanded political commentary against the Soviet system that seems a little tongue in cheek.

  • It was nice, but covers only a part of Stallinism (up to around the end of the great purges), and isn't able to go into enough depth (like when talking about some complaints from people, there's no follow-up on what happened to them or their problems).

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