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My Life in Stalinist Russia An American Woman Looks Back

by Mary M. Leder, Robert Weinberg

My Life in Stalinist Russia An American Woman Looks Back Synopsis

A sometimes astonishing, worm's-eye view of life under totalitarianism, and a valuable contribution to Soviet and Jewish studies. -Kirkus Reviews In 1931, Mary M. Leder, an American teenager, was attending high school in Santa Monica, California. By year's end, she was living in a Moscow commune and working in a factory, thousands of miles from her family, with whom she had emigrated to Birobidzhan, the area designated by the USSR as a Jewish socialist homeland. Although her parents soon returned to America, Mary was not permitted to leave and would spend the next 34 years in the Soviet Union. Readers will be drawn into this personal account of the life of an independent-minded young woman, coming of age in a society that she believed was on the verge of achieving justice for all but which ultimately led her to disappointment and disillusionment. Leder's absorbing memoir presents a microcosm of Soviet history and an extraordinary window into everyday life and culture in the Stalin era.

My Life in Stalinist Russia An American Woman Looks Back Press Reviews

Mary Mackler Leder was by no means a significant figure in Stalinist Russia, but readers will find that she writes an arresting observer's account of life in Russia over more than two decades. Sovietologists of the Stalinist era will find interesting anecdotes about Soviet life that confirm, revise, and in some cases authenticate the constructed sociology of the time. One example that constantly reappears is Leder's insistence on stating that she is an American, while the authorities both high and low, all across the Soviet Union, simply classify her as Jewish, with all the usual and stereotypical ramifications of that view. Two particular periods of the account are noteworthy-those about the purges in the 1930s and the war years, during which time her baby daughter died. Perhaps most remarkable is Leder's ability to recall her past with exquisite detail and precision so many years beyond the events. Upper-division undergraduates and above.January 2002 -- C. W. Haury * Piedmont Virginia Community College *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780253214423
Publication date: 13th September 2001
Author: Mary M. Leder, Robert Weinberg
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 360 pages
Categories: Autobiography: general, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About Mary M. Leder, Robert Weinberg

Mary M. Leder has lived in New York since her return from the Soviet Union in 1965. Laurie Bernstein is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, Camden, and author of Sonia's Daughters: Prostitutes and Their Regulation in Imperial Russia. Robert Weinberg is Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore College. He is author of The Revolution of 1905 in Odessa: Blood on the Steps and Stalin's Forgotten Zion: Birobidzhan and The Making of a Soviet Jewish Homeland.

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