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Book Title: In the Shadow of Revolution: Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War|
Date of issue: May 21st 2000
ISBN 13: 9780691019499
The author of the book: Sheila Fitzpatrick
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.75 MB
Edition: Princeton University Press
Read full description of the books In the Shadow of Revolution: Life Stories of Russian Women from 1917 to the Second World War:Asked shortly after the revolution about how she viewed the new government, Tatiana Varsher replied, "With the wide-open eyes of a historian." Her countrywoman, Zinaida Zhemchuzhnaia, expressed a similar need to take note: "I want to write about the way those events were perceived and reflected in the humble and distant corner of Russia that was the Cossack town of Korenovskaia." What these women witnessed and experienced, and what they were moved to describe, is part of the extraordinary portrait of life in revolutionary Russia presented in this book. A collection of life stories of Russian women in the first half of the twentieth century, In the Shadow of Revolution brings together the testimony of Soviet citizens and emigres, intellectuals of aristocratic birth and Soviet milkmaids, housewives and engineers, Bolshevik activists and dedicated opponents of the Soviet regime. In literary memoirs, oral interviews, personal dossiers, public speeches, and letters to the editor, these women document their diverse experience of the upheavals that reshaped Russia in the first half of this century.
As is characteristic of twentieth-century Russian women's autobiographies, these life stories take their structure not so much from private events like childbirth or marriage as from great public events. Accordingly the collection is structured around the events these women see as touchstones: the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-20; the switch to the New Economic Policy in the 1920s and collectivization; and the Stalinist society of the 1930s, including the Great Terror. Edited by two preeminent historians of Russia and the Soviet Union, the volume includes introductions that investigate the social historical context of these women's lives as well as the structure of their autobiographical narratives.
Read information about the authorSheila 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 more useful to show than there were certain things about the Soviet company that it explained very well."
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