Katherine B. Eaton
What was ordinary life like during the extraordinary time of the Soviet Union? Upheaval, terror, suspicion and deprivation were constants in the USSR under the communist rule that lasted for most of the twentieth century. Yet people still worked in factories, farmed the fields, served in the military, wrote, broke the law and sentenced the lawbreakers, governed villages and cities, and raised and supported families. The Soviet period was extraordinary not only because of the vast and diversified terror campaign that killed millions of Soviet citizens, two crippling World Wars and an economically devastating Cold War, but also because of the high degree of hope and idealism for a just society that accompanied the birth of the Soviet State. Commencing with an historical overview of the Soviet era, 1917 - 1991, this work offers critical background information on the Russian Revolution and Civil War, the New Economic Policy, Collectivization, Industrialism, Stalin's Terror, World War II, the Cold War, economic failures, Glasnost, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Once the background is established, key elements of life as it was lived, are presented.
Ethnic groups, military life, rural and city life are given full treatments. Domestic concerns are examined too, by looking at how and for what people shopped, what they ate, what kind of housing they lived in, and what sort of health care and education Soviet citizens received. The arts, popular culture, and leisure time activities are placed within their Soviet-era contexts as well. Thirty-four maps and illustrations round out the work, as do a glossary of terms and a bibliographic essay of multimedia sources for those interested in further reading and research.