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Stalinist Values

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About the Author

David L. Hoffmann is Professor of History at The Ohio State University. His books include, as editor, Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices and Stalinism: The Essential Readings.


"Hoffmann provides a new cultural framework for understanding Soviet history during the interwar period... Hoffmann argues that the Stalinist state neither 'betrayed' the socialist revolutionary nor 'retreated' to traditional Russian mores. Instead he shows that the Stalinist order, like other European post-Enlightenment states, sought to catalogue, mobilize, and shape its citizens into ideal men and women. Defining modernity as the rise of the interventionist state and the birth of mass politics, Hoffmann details the various ways that the Soviet state tried to enlighten and transform human nature in their quest to create an ideal socialist order... This book will force us to think about the wider international implications of Stalinism. The writing is a model of clarity, and the text can be used at both the graduate and undergraduate levels."-Choi Chatterjee, American Historical Review, June 2004 "Hoffmann ... argues that campaigns for literacy, sobriety, personal hygiene and 'cultured speech' helped promote an aspect of social transformation that coexisted with the forced labor camps and mayhem. Drawing on original archival research, he documents a less well-known movement that involved reproduction incentives in the face of plummeting birth rates during the 1930s, which ironically coincided with earlier efforts for sexual abstinence to preserve 'energy for socially productive work.'"-Library Journal, 1 October 2003 "Using a variety of sources, including the Russian archives, the author has written a brilliant description of Stalinist values and proved that Stalin was an ideologue to the end. He shows that the ideology failed precisely because it was an ideology-out of touch with reality and people. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."-Choice, March 2004 "Shooting with a wide-angle lens, David L. Hoffmann locates Stalinist culture within the broader context of European modernity. To his great credit, he does so without obscuring the distinctive features of the Soviet state's attitudes toward social intervention and mass politics. An engaging, clearly written, and much-needed rereading of the Soviet incarnation of modern mass culture, Stalinist Values represents a real achievement by a careful, thoughtful historian."-Donald Raleigh, University of North Carolina "Stalinist Values is a wide-ranging, thorough survey and analysis of the cultural and social values promoted by Stalin's regime. Hoffmann synthesizes and extends current research on the Stalinist project of the 1920s and '30s and places it precisely within the context of twentieth century modernity.'"-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University

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