The revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky famously proclaimed in his suicide note, ‘the love boat has crashed against byt.’ That the banal problems of everyday life (byt) had undermined the hopes of the Revolution has since been widely inferred in evaluations of the Soviet system.
Donald Filtzer has added another major book to his long and impressive contribution to the study of Soviet history. It is a formidably detailed analysis of urban living conditions during the late Stalinist period, from the closing stages of the Second World War to the death of Stalin in 1953. While it bears Professor Filtzer’s unmistakable mark, it is also something of a new departure.
Leif Jerram has written Streetlife to encourage historians to reconsider and reflect upon the manner in which they construct narratives of modern history and the agency they attribute to traditional sources of events.
Over the past generation of scholarship, the history of consumption and material culture has emerged as a rich subfield of European history.
Britain’s role in the refugee crisis created by the rise of fascism has been examined from many angles, and not always critically. Early works did little more than extol British humanitarianism and celebrate refugee successes.
The main theme of this book is Soviet urban planning and architecture in Central Asia between 1930 and 1966. It seeks to explain how Russian Bolsheviks wanted to transform the city of Tashkent into a model Soviet city, with impressive public buildings worthy of the new political order, and adequate housing projects for the city’s proletariat.
At least three factors go towards explaining why the destruction of Spanish cities during the Civil War (1936–9) and the subsequent reconstruction efforts have long been overlooked and under-studied.
Writing some thirty years ago, Brian Bond noted that ‘strictly speaking, total war is just as much a myth as total victory or total peace’.(1) Undoubtedly, too, some wars – even world wars – were more total than others. If in the First World War civilians suffered indirectly from shortages, separations, blockade, etc., it was still the solders that did most of the dying.
Bordered by Oxford Street to the North, Regent Street to the West, Charing Cross Road to the East and Leicester Square to the South, the area of Soho can be depicted as an exotic island within the oceanic sprawl of London.
In 1872 the Reverend T. DeWitt Talmage composed an essay entitled ‘After midnight’ in which he put forward the notion that night-time in the city passes through four distinct phases or ‘watches’ (pp. 55–6). Night was not one entity that lasted from dusk until dawn, instead it moved in three hour periods commencing at 6pm.