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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674062329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674062320
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Students of 1960s cultural ferment, Russian-style, will find much substance in Zubok's account. -- Gilbert Taylor Booklist 20090501 Using Zhivago as a metaphor for the postwar intelligentsia, Zubok presents a compelling, well-written, and well-researched history of an important but neglected aspect of Soviet history. -- Deborah Hicks Library Journal 20090615 Vladislav Zubok takes us into the creative and intellectual world of all Zhivago's children: that generation of artists, scientists and thinkers who came after Boris Pasternak and Stalin. Zubok has no illusions about them. In the end they may not have lived up to the hopes they inspired or have met the standards of generations of Russian intellectuals that went before. But it was an idealistic generation as well and, in the end, they paved the way for end of the Soviet regime. -- Steven Carroll The Age 20090627 In his moving Zhivago's Children, historian Vladislav Zubok chronicles the rise and fall of this generation of Russian intellectuals, a group he calls "the spiritual heirs of Boris Pasternak's noble doctor."...The players in Zubok's fascinating study come from all corners of the Soviet intelligentsia, from leftist socialist true believers to right-wing patriots. The result is a thorough, scholarly examination of a vital era in Russian history whose themes of human rights, freedom and dissent will resonate among experts and lay readers alike. -- Alexander F. Remington Washington Post Book World 20090705 A revealing, thoroughly researched and important book infused with elegiac tones. Stalin's Russia had encouraged education and technical know-how, yet its leaders had blindly assumed that the country's intellectuals would remain unthinking, easily controlled cogs in the vast machine of the state. But some men and women born in the 1930s and '40s refused to play their assigned role, particularly after the leader's death in 1953 and Nikita Khrushchev's new policies of de-Stalinization and the Thaw suggested a new dawn was at hand...Zhivago's children flourished throughout the second half of the 1950s and into the '60s. It was a time of great optimism and hope. Among the best known in the West of these shestidesiatniki, or men of the sixties, is the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, but Zubok's book chronicles the stories of many other noteworthy figures. -- Douglas Smith Seattle Times 20090705 Zubok has done a thorough and worthwhile job in recounting the fate of Zhivago's children, drawing on their own numerous diaries and memoirs, but also on archives and personal interviews with them. -- Geoffrey A. Hosking Times Literary Supplement 20090710 This book is a worthy tribute to the history of a unique, and uniquely important, feature of modern Russian life. -- Harold Shukman Times Higher Education 20090806 The Soviet Union was a prison, especially for the lively minded, whose travel abroad and activities at home were dictated by the Communist Party's cultural commissars. But in the period between the end of the Stalin terror and the start of the Brezhnev era's grim stagnation, a lucky few enjoyed some wisps of freedom. Cultural continuity between that period and a lost past is the central theme of Zhivago's Children. The metaphorical reference is to Tanya, the child of Yuri and Lara Zhivago in Boris Pasternak's great novel. Brought up by peasants, "she has no opportunity to inherit the tradition of free-thinking, spirituality and creativity that her father embodied." How will she turn out? The novel leaves that fictional question unanswered. Vladislav Zubok's book shows, with great sympathy and insight, what happened to Tanya's real-life counterparts. The Economist 20090704 Vladislav Zubok has written a splendid account of Russian intellectual and cultural life in the half century after the Great Patriotic War, which we call World War II. He vividly portrays not only "the struggle of intellectuals and artists to regain autonomy from an autocratic regime," but "the slow and painful disappearance of their revolutionary-romantic idealism and optimism, their faith in progress and in the enlightenment of people."...Zubok makes it a glorious story to read! -- Robert Belknap New Leader 20090501 Zubok is a reliable and prodigiously well-informed guide to the opinions, attitudes, and changing fortunes of loyal Soviet intellectuals during the approximately twenty years between the early 1950s and 1970s...Zubok tells his story with a density of detail and complexity of analysis that is truly remarkable. Ranging across the entire spectrum of Soviet cultural life, he carefully plots the rise and fall of magazines, publishing houses, and cultural institutions, together with the changing consciousness of the intellectuals--writers, editors, scholars, government bureaucrats--as they adjusted to ongoing revelations about the past, digested each new crisis, and tried to take advantage of the new freedoms they appeared to promise...Zubok has done a fine job of characterizing a slice of Russian intellectual life over a couple of turbulent decades of Soviet history...[An] intelligent and engrossing book. -- Michael Scammell New York Review of Books 20100114 Vladislav Zubok has written a meticulously researched and perceptive study of the generations succeeding Zhivago, showing how desperately they tried, against the worst efforts of successive leaderships from 1945 to 1985, to retain values that they regarded as vital to their own and their society's moral survival. The record shows a jagged graph of comparative freedoms and stern reprisals, but their struggles are inspirational...Zubok's detailed book is a highly rewarding and unusual foray into a fascinating national situation, but its implications are universal. Any country too busy doing business to support the values kept alive by idealistic artists, writers and critics will visit moral bankruptcy on its own children. -- Judith Armstrong Australian Book Review 20091001 In this magnificent book, Zubok eviscerates the reductive opposition of communist and anti-communist, of hard-liner and dissident, of being for or against the regime, categories that are far too crude to capture the nuances of Soviet life. Zhivago's Children were never entirely communist or anti-communist, and they were simultaneously Soviet and anti-Soviet. -- Michael Kimmage Dissent 20100504 For Vladislav Zubok, the author of Zhivago's Children, Khrushchev's Thaw inaugurated a period of tremendous optimism, a Soviet-style New Deal following the deep freeze of postwar Stalinism. Surveying a vast array of published and unpublished sources with an exquisite eye for telling detail, Zubok shows how the optimism of the era drew deeply on the classical inheritance of Marxism-Leninism. Contrary to assessments by foreign observers eager for signs of anticommunist ferment, the '60s intellectuals of the USSR were inspired by the dream of fulfilling, not transcending, the ideals of 1917...Vladislav Zubok began his academic career in Moscow as a specialist in American political history, only to move to the United States in the mid-1980s, where he became an internationally renowned scholar of Soviet cold war foreign policy. With Zhivago's Children Zubok has reinvented himself yet again, this time as an accomplished cultural historian of his native land. His book is an elegiac account of the final chapter in the history of the Russian intelligentsia, a group that survived revolution, civil war, Nazi onslaught and Stalinist repression, only to succumb to the supreme solvent of its life-ways: the free market. -- Benjamin Nathans The Nation 20110906

About the Author

Vladislav Zubok is Professor of History at Temple University

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. G. SPORTON on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Zubok's thorough account of the role the Russian intelligentsia played during the Soviet period is excellent reading for those interested in Soviet culture and the reaction that succeeded it. Zubok's themes are paradoxical: that the social experience of the Soviet era was parallel and comparable to the Western one, and that it was also completely different in manifestation and effectiveness. Surely both cannot be correct, and yet there are ways in which his argument rings true. The disillusionment of the young, educated classes of 1968 left Western students buying in to affluence by the 1980s, and Russian ones carefully scaling the career ladders of the Soviet Union. The most remarkable paradox is the Soviet era's denoument. Having finally acquired the bottle for proper political action after 70 years of fear, the intelligentsia accidentally killed off the possibility of socialism with a human face by abandoning structured reform for the indulgence of lecturing the Government on what it ought to do. Gorbachev, who was one of their own, didn't have the strength to resist, and thus a regime of criminality, kleptocracy and fraud was born. A sorry day indeed for those who cared about Russian culture and its place in the polity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dinamit on 21 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for someone who wants to learn about Soviet cultural and intellectual history in the post-Stalin era. There are not many books on the subject, and this is a great achievement. Zubok presents a thorough research, and compelling and interesting story. He follows the Russian intelligentsia from their formative period in the post-war years, through excitement and enthusiastic upheaval of Khrushchev's reforms and into disillusionment or dissident culture of the Brezhnev period. The book introduces all major intellectual icons of the late Soviet period, many of whom are still of great importance today. At times the monograph is a bit thin on the analysis, but as a narrative story of this important period it's very good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Most significant overview of a critical period in the USSR. 14 Mar. 2014
By Miklos Muller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know the author well and have great respect for him. His previious monograph was also excellent. As a historian who started in the USSR, he has real insight of the events that changed the cultural landscape of Russia beginning from the end of WWII until Gorbachev's time. This volume will be indispensable for slavists and of real interest for all history and literature buffs.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An excellent way to understand the essence of Russia 8 Aug. 2009
By M. A Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book, though probably not the last word on the subject, it is likely to break new ground in Russian cultural history. When I was in Russia in 1992, I was wondering what sort of history could ever be written of Russia inthe 20th century since most of the sources were either uncritical praise of the regime or the elite discussions of dissidents. There was no way to determine what the real truth was. This book deals with the thoughts and aspirations of the intellectuals during the period after WWII, and how things developed after deStalinization, the 1960s, the period of stagnation under Brezhnev and finally the end of the Soviet Union. Zubok shows us a panorama of leading lights who defined the times in which they lived. What is fascinating is just how much influence the generation of the 1960s still seems to exercise on society. which could be seen not only as the contest between slavophiles and westernizers, but between Memorial and Pamyat (Remember).
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