Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization
This study is the first of its kind: a street-level inside account of what Stalinism meant to the masses of ordinary people who lived it. Stephen Kotkin was the first American in 45 years to be allowed into Magnitogorsk, a city built in response to Stalin's decision to transform the predominantly agricultural nation into a "country of metal." With unique access to previously untapped archives and interviews, Kotkin forges a vivid and compelling account of the impact of industrialization on a single urban community.
Kotkin argues that Stalinism offered itself as an opportunity for enlightenment. The utopia it proffered, socialism, would be a new civilization based on the repudiation of capitalism. The extent to which the citizenry participated in this scheme and the relationship of the state's ambitions to the dreams of ordinary people form the substance of this fascinating story. Kotkin tells it deftly, with a remarkable understanding of the social and political system, as well as a keen instinct for the details of everyday life.
Kotkin depicts a whole range of life: from the blast furnace workers who labored in the enormous iron and steel plant, to the families who struggled with the shortage of housing and services. Thematically organized and closely focused, Magnetic Mountain signals the beginning of a new stage in the writing of Soviet social history.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
According accused activities administration April Archival file Nariad arrested August authorities barracks became blast furnace Bolshevik Borba building called capitalist Central Committee Cheliabinsk chief city newspaper city soviet city's coke Communist construction culture December decree dekulakized documents E. H. Carr economy Eliseeva enemies example factory February Five-Year Plan GARF gorkom gorsk housing Ibid industrial istorii January John Scott Khitarov Kirov district Komsomol kulak labor colony leadership Lewin living space Lominadze Magnitka Magnito Magnitogorsk newspaper Magnitogorsk procuracy Magnitogorskii metall Magnitostroi March McKee MFGAChO Moscow Moshe Lewin mud huts nitogorsk NKVD obkom October official open-hearth Ordzhonikidze party members party organization party's peasants percent political population Pravda problem production raikom regime revolution revolutionary RSFSR rubles Russian September shock workers social socialist city Sorokin Soviet Union Sovnarkom Stakhanovite Stalin steel plant supply terror tion trade University Press Urals urban USSR Vesenkha workers wrote Zaveniagin