Author Topic: Books about life under communism  (Read 2588 times)

imitationleather

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Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2019, 11:36:24 AM »
I'm currently reading Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy. I've read half of it in one sitting (a rarity for me) and I am totally digging this shit. I know the general story of course, but it's written in such a thrilling style that in addition to being full of lots of interesting info about just what went down that night the pace and storytelling is absolutely top notch.

I too am now very much wanting to read more about what life was like in the latter stages of the Soviet Union. In this book here's mentions of the bureaucracy and things such as needing to join a lengthy waiting list to own a car and the chronic housing shortages, but I want to know more! More, I tell you!

Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2019, 11:47:43 PM »
Another shout for Stasiland here - I'm about halfway through, and as someone who rarely reads historical nonfiction (not because I'm not interested, I've just never really got around to it/am a bit daunted due to my own pretty crap general knowledge of modern history), I'm finding it great so far.

Her writing has a mesmerising, dreamlike quality, but also dare I say a sort of Germanic elegance and undercurrent of wry humour as well. The stories speak for themselves really, but the balance of style and warmth frames them excellently.

The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich, an oral history of Soviet women in WWII, is on my list.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2019, 04:48:21 AM »
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen.

I am an incorrigible chef and food bore, so this was right up my alley. Recipes woven into the recollections of the author.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/15/mastering-art-soviet-cooking-review

Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2019, 02:21:23 AM »

imitationleather

  • "The French... are famous... for their kissing"
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Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2019, 11:04:38 AM »
Another shout for Stasiland here - I'm about halfway through, and as someone who rarely reads historical nonfiction (not because I'm not interested, I've just never really got around to it/am a bit daunted due to my own pretty crap general knowledge of modern history), I'm finding it great so far.

Her writing has a mesmerising, dreamlike quality, but also dare I say a sort of Germanic elegance and undercurrent of wry humour as well. The stories speak for themselves really, but the balance of style and warmth frames them excellently.

Seconded. Been really enjoying this. Have fired through over half of it since I started reading it yesterday.

And here was me thinking the Stasi were the good guys. :(

Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2019, 01:50:12 PM »
And here was me thinking the Stasi were the good guys. :(

You can try Timothy Garton Ash's The File, where he discovers post-89 that there was a Stasi file on him, and traces and meets the people who'd informed on him. Part autobiography, part detective story.

And - I know it's a book thread, but I chanced upon this documentary recently, about a UK film crew who'd filmed interviews in Rostock before The Wall fell, and then went back there a couple of years ago and re-interviewed the people they'd met (the men from a Fishermen's Collective and the women from an all-female Crane Operators' Collective). It's fascinating, and well-worth the £4 rental fee.

From Us To Them


imitationleather

  • "The French... are famous... for their kissing"
    • http://last.fm/user/ImiLeathr
Re: Books about life under communism
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2019, 11:56:55 PM »
You can try Timothy Garton Ash's The File, where he discovers post-89 that there was a Stasi file on him, and traces and meets the people who'd informed on him. Part autobiography, part detective story.

And - I know it's a book thread, but I chanced upon this documentary recently, about a UK film crew who'd filmed interviews in Rostock before The Wall fell, and then went back there a couple of years ago and re-interviewed the people they'd met (the men from a Fishermen's Collective and the women from an all-female Crane Operators' Collective). It's fascinating, and well-worth the £4 rental fee.

From Us To Them

Ta for those recommendations. I may well fork out on payday!