Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949–56

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9780801451249: Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949–56

Unfinished Utopia is a social and cultural history of Nowa Huta, dubbed Poland's "first socialist city" by Communist propaganda of the 1950s. Work began on the new town, located on the banks of the Vistula River just a few miles from the historic city of Kraków, in 1949. By contrast to its older neighbor, Nowa Huta was intended to model a new kind of socialist modernity and to be peopled with "new men," themselves both the builders and the beneficiaries of this project of socialist construction. Nowa Huta was the largest and politically most significant of the socialist cities built in East Central Europe after World War II; home to the massive Lenin Steelworks, it epitomized the Stalinist program of forced industrialization that opened the cities to rural migrants and sought fundamentally to transform the structures of Polish society.

Focusing on Nowa Huta's construction and steel workers, youth brigade volunteers, housewives, activists, and architects, Katherine Lebow explores their various encounters with the ideology and practice of Stalinist mobilization by seeking out their voices in memoirs, oral history interviews, and archival records, juxtaposing these against both the official and unofficial transcripts of Stalinism. Far from the gray and regimented landscape we imagine Stalinism to have been, the fledgling city was a colorful and anarchic place where the formerly disenfranchised (peasants, youth, women) hastened to assert their leading role in "building socialism"―but rarely in ways that authorities had anticipated.

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About the Author:

Katherine Lebow is an Elise Richter Fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Review:

"With its monumental architecture and bold layout, Nowa Huta appears to be the quintessence of Communist urban planning. Yet, as Katherine Lebow's rich yet concise study demonstrates, underneath the regimented spaces and ubiquitous concrete lie more complex and nuanced stories. . . . It also provides important general insights into the intricate processes by which modernist urban spaces. Despite their aspiration to control, become powerful sites of negotiation and resistance."―Uilleam Blacker, Times Literary Supplement (27 September 2013)



"Katherine Lebow has redirected the study of Stalinism in scholarly debates. Unlike practitioners of traditional sovietology―now morphing into victimology, for popular consumption―she seeks out the complexities and ambiguities of Stalinism in eastern Europe . . . This book will appeal to a wide readership across many disciplines. The range is extensive: urban geography, political mobilization, social structure, gender, youth culture, and film studies. It crosses boundaries within Poland and beyond." ―Anthony Kemp-Welch, University of East Anglia, Slavic Review (2014)



"Each chapter provides the reader with fascinating material that ultimately illuminates the problems at the heart of the most recent discussions in Polish historiography. This includes the nature of Polish Stalinism, which Lebow sees as much more than mere ideology, but rather as a set of practices that individuals creatively appropriated."―Anna Muller,Austrian History Yearbook(April 2015)



"Unfinished Utopia is an extremely interesting and beautifully executed book. . . .This book will appeal to a very wide audience. It will of course interest historians of the Polish postwar first and foremost, but beyond that it will appeal to Eastern Europeanists and, notably, to historians of the Western European postwar as well. The book succeeds on many levels: as Polish history, as a history of postwar European recovery, as a history of Stalinism and of Communist identity formation, and, lastly, as a history of twentieth-century political and social transformations."―Eva Plach,The Journal of Modern History(June 2015)



"Unfinished Utopia is an impressively researched and beautifully illustrated book that draws on a wide range of archival, primary, and secondary sources. Though rich in detail, Unfinished Utopia never seems cluttered, and the main themes and arguments are always clearly apparent. Katherine Lebow presents a history of the new town and steelworks at Nowa Huta, but she also uses her case study to offer many insights into Stalinism in general and the book presents a fascinating portrait of the lives of Polish peasants in the process of becoming industrial workers."―Slavonic and East European Review



"In this richly researched book, Lebow explores how Poland's socialistregime and the residents of Nowa Huta built the city and forged a new way oflife. . . . It is remarkable that Lebow is able to tell the story of Nowa Huta anddevelop these provocative arguments in such a short book."―Steven E. Harris, East Central Europe (Aug 2015)




"Katherine Lebow's fascinating, impressively researched, and compact study of Nowa Huta, the famous Polish Stalinist project, evokes all the idealism, hard work, accomplishments, failures, and foolhardiness that went into building the mammoth steel mill and the new socialist city that grew up next to it. She focuses on the complicated social history and everyday life of the workers themselves―gypsies, women, shock workers, and hipsters among them―who populated the new city, and demonstrates the crucial role of Nowa Huta’s labor force in the development of worker protest and the emergence of Solidarity."―Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies, Stanford University



"Nowa Huta was a steelwork and an urban center designed for rural migrants who were to become new men and women in the socialist environment. This is a story of Polish communism as seen from the vantage point of ordinary people who participated in the Stalinist industrial drive. In a compelling and lucid way, Katherine Lebow describes a community that from the very beginning developed a sense of its own identity, not necessarily in agreement with the Communist regime's vision. Rather, the people of Nowa Huta combined rural traditions, the legacy of war and displacement, and their own interpretations of what it meant to construct socialism into a unique system of values. Ironically, as Lebow aptly argues, these values eventually contributed to the dismantling of the Communist project."―Malgorzata Fidelis, University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland

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Descripción Cornell University Press, United States, 2020. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Unfinished Utopia is a social and cultural history of Nowa Huta, dubbed Poland s first socialist city by Communist propaganda of the 1950s. Work began on the new town, located on the banks of the Vistula River just a few miles from the historic city of Krakow, in 1949. By contrast to its older neighbor, Nowa Huta was intended to model a new kind of socialist modernity and to be peopled with new men, themselves both the builders and the beneficiaries of this project of socialist construction. Nowa Huta was the largest and politically most significant of the socialist cities built in East Central Europe after World War II; home to the massive Lenin Steelworks, it epitomized the Stalinist program of forced industrialization that opened the cities to rural migrants and sought fundamentally to transform the structures of Polish society. Focusing on Nowa Huta s construction and steel workers, youth brigade volunteers, housewives, activists, and architects, Katherine Lebow explores their various encounters with the ideology and practice of Stalinist mobilization by seeking out their voices in memoirs, oral history interviews, and archival records, juxtaposing these against both the official and unofficial transcripts of Stalinism. Far from the gray and regimented landscape we imagine Stalinism to have been, the fledgling city was a colorful and anarchic place where the formerly disenfranchised (peasants, youth, women) hastened to assert their leading role in building socialism --but rarely in ways that authorities had anticipated. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780801451249

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Descripción Cornell University Press, United States, 2020. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Unfinished Utopia is a social and cultural history of Nowa Huta, dubbed Poland s first socialist city by Communist propaganda of the 1950s. Work began on the new town, located on the banks of the Vistula River just a few miles from the historic city of Krakow, in 1949. By contrast to its older neighbor, Nowa Huta was intended to model a new kind of socialist modernity and to be peopled with new men, themselves both the builders and the beneficiaries of this project of socialist construction. Nowa Huta was the largest and politically most significant of the socialist cities built in East Central Europe after World War II; home to the massive Lenin Steelworks, it epitomized the Stalinist program of forced industrialization that opened the cities to rural migrants and sought fundamentally to transform the structures of Polish society. Focusing on Nowa Huta s construction and steel workers, youth brigade volunteers, housewives, activists, and architects, Katherine Lebow explores their various encounters with the ideology and practice of Stalinist mobilization by seeking out their voices in memoirs, oral history interviews, and archival records, juxtaposing these against both the official and unofficial transcripts of Stalinism. Far from the gray and regimented landscape we imagine Stalinism to have been, the fledgling city was a colorful and anarchic place where the formerly disenfranchised (peasants, youth, women) hastened to assert their leading role in building socialism --but rarely in ways that authorities had anticipated. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780801451249

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