The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century

The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century : A Global History through Sources

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Using a source-based approach, The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century is the first text designed to help students, general readers, and scholars understand how people constructed Communist ways of life around the world. Taking a global approach, it extends beyond Russia and Eastern Europe to examine the lives of people in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Peru, Cuba, and elsewhere. The book provides an inside look at the Communist experience, where people were-sometimes simultaneously so-enthusiasts, reshapers, resisters, and victims of an ideological project that was (and, for some, still is) both humanity's darkest nightmare and brightest hope. Since the collapse of Communist regimes beginning in 1989, vital questions-about how people subjectively experienced Communism, helped to shape it, and constructed an idea of "self" in such restrictive environments-have not lost their political significance. In fact, just the opposite holds true. The opening of many formerly closed Communist archives has given scholars the opportunity to research the political significance that the construction of the self had across Communist regimes, polities, and movements. Incorporating the latest scholarship, The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century includes previously unavailable documents, such as diaries and letters, which are now accessible as a result of the archival revolution. A photo essay, "Everyday Life and Everyday Things under Socialism, 1945-1989," uses visual evidence to explore everyday life across the Communist civilizations. A locator map at the beginning of each chapter identifies the places associated with each of the sources, and a chronology provides a comparative timeline for Communist and world history.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195366905
  • 9780195366907
  • 128,099

About Glennys Young

Glennys Young is Associate Professor of History and International Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History at the University of Washington. She is the author of Power and the Sacred in Revolutionary Russia: Religious Activists in the Village (1997), which was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Hans Rosenhaupt Memorial Book Award of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.show more

Review quote

"With prodigious effort, Glennys Young has assembled a treasury of documents that illuminate the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people who joined or were marked by the twentieth century's attempt to overcome capitalism. This superb collection covers the globe and tells stories that need to be remembered."--Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan "This is a much-needed book! The Communist Experience moves not just between nations but between continents to convey the rich range of rhythms, dilemmas, pleasures and sorrows of daily life in state socialist settings. As topically eclectic as it is geographically far-flung, Young's book will be a god-send to many different kinds of teachers."--Jeffrey Wasserstrom, University of California, Irvine "This groundbreaking collection will reconfigure our understanding of the experiences of ordinary people who fashioned extraordinary lives for themselves in Communist societies around the world. Young paints a remarkably vivid portrait of 'communisms' and their subjects. . . . a book rich in insight and perspective."--Anand Yang, University of Washingtonshow more

Table of contents

Preface ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction ; List of Maps ; List of Illustrations ; Chronology: Twentieth-Century World History and the History of Communism ; 1. Becoming a Communist ; 2. Children of the Revolutions ; 3. Varieties of Communist Subjects: Beyond the Ordinary ; 4. Ideology and Self-Fashioning ; 5. Contesting the Meaning of State Violence and Repression ; 6. Everyday Life I: Work ; 7. Everyday Life, II: Space ; 8. Everyday Life, III: Are We Having Fun Yet? Entertainment, Sports, and Travel ; PHOTO ESSAY ; 9. Search for the Self and the Fall of Communism ; 10. Taking Stock: Reckoning with Communism's Pasts ; Suggestions for Further Reading, and Additional Resources ; Index ; Thematic Table of Contents ; Education ; Document 1.1 Russia: Semen Kanatchikov (1879-1940) on his circuitous road to Marxism ; Document 1.3 United States of America: Angelo Herndon (1913-1997) on his first exposure to Communism ; Document 1.7 Latin America: Testimonies from members of Peru's Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) ; Document 2.1 Spain/USSR, Late 1930s: Letters by Spanish children evacuated during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) (Letters are addressed to family and friends in Spain, 1938) ; Document 2.2 China, Late 1940s: An orphan of China's War with Japan tries to make sense of Communism ; Document 2.3 Cambodia, 1975-1979: Childhood under the Khmer Rouge ; Document 2.4 North Korea: A child and his aquarium during deportation to a concentration camp ; Document 2.5 Havana, Early 1960s: Childhood in Castro's Cuba ; Document 2.6 Peru: Testimony from a child conscripted by the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) ; Document 3.3 Kazakhstan, USSR: A Chinese student reflects on his role in the Soviet Union's virgin lands campaign in 1958 ; Document 4.1 USSR: The politics of self-presentation in the 1921 autobiography of a Communist Party member. ; Document 4.2 St. Louis, 1948: A Communist Party cell puts " for campaign for literacy, ca. 1961 ; Document 6.1 Moscow, 1928: A Chinese student in the USSR grapples with Love, Sex, Labor, and the building of Socialism ; Document 6.3 East Germany, June 17, 1953: Workers (and others!) against the " ; Document 6.4 China, Great Leap Forward (1957-1961): Recollections of a local cadre (Wang Fucheng, 1923- ) and his wife (Wang Xianghua) ; Document 6.5 Bratislava, June, 1963: The " ; Document 6.6 Poland, 1982: Polish workers generate a common knowledge of how to resist on an everyday basis ; Document 6.7 Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Early 1980s/Early 1990s/Early 2000s: Alexei Rybin (1960- ), the guitarist for the Soviet rock band Kino, on the meaning of work and other things ; Document 8.5 Croatia/Yugoslavia, 1996, 1950s, 1960s: On travel from a land of socialism to one of capitalism, and back ; Document 9.1 Poland, 1988-89: Theshow more

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