*The Soviet Century*

 The author is Karl Schlögel, and the subtitle is Archaeology of a Lost World.  Who else could have a whole chapter on Soviet-era doorknobs?  This is a fascinating book about the material loose ends, the pamphlets, the clothes, the non-existent phone books, the shop signs, the chest medals, and the bric-a-brac — among many other
The post *The Soviet Century* appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION. 

The author is Karl Schlögel, and the subtitle is Archaeology of a Lost World.  Who else could have a whole chapter on Soviet-era doorknobs?  This is a fascinating book about the material loose ends, the pamphlets, the clothes, the non-existent phone books, the shop signs, the chest medals, and the bric-a-brac — among many other items — of the Soviet Union.  Excerpt:

…the centre of this city consisted of the largest steelworks in the world, the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Plant.

Who would be able to describe the sight of it?  There is no vantage point and no camera lens that would encompass the panorama that we know otherwise only from the sight of the forces of nature at work…

The conglomerate has an area of around twenty by ten kilometres.  The Magnitogorsk combine is roughly the size of a region from Manchester to Sheffield, compressed into a single  point, a Pittsburgh beyond the Urals.  As Stephen Kotkin observed at the end of the 1980s, the Magnitogorsk engineering complex was far more than just a ‘steel factory’.  It consisted of dozens of plants, ten mighty blast furnaces, thirty-four open hearth furnaces, rolling mills and finishing mills that produced more steel annually than Canada or Czechoslovakia and almost as much as the whole of Great Britain.

Over 800 pp. of text, this is in my view one of the better books for understanding the Soviet Union.

The post *The Soviet Century* appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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*The Soviet Century*

*The Soviet Century*

 The author is Karl Schlögel, and the subtitle is Archaeology of a Lost World

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