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Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel
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Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  18 reviews
"Students reading Scott have come away with a real appreciation of the hardships under which these workers built Magnitogorsk and of the nearly incredible enthusiasm with which many of them worked." --Ronald Grigor Suny

"A genuine grassroots account of Soviet life--a type of book of which there have been far too few." --William Henry Chamberlin, New York Times, 1943

..". a r
Paperback, 306 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Indiana University Press (first published 1942)
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An American worker goes to Magnitogorsk to "build socialism" during the First Five Year Plan. A memoir of a true believer.
Sep 16, 2008 Zack rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Zack by: Prof. Willis Brooks (required reading for his class)
Shelves: read-in-2008
This is a very well-detailed description of life in a Soviet Steel Town during the Stalin era. Written by the son of Helen and Scott Nearing (of "Living the Good Life" fame), it consists of the remembrances of an American who decides to work in the great experiment that was Communist Russia. There's an awful lot of data to digest here, but (if tables and charts aren't your thing) glossing over the production statistics won't impair your enjoyment of this book. If Scott is guilty of anything it i ...more
Fascinating account of life in a Soviet start-up industrial city during a very interesting period (1930s). Magnitogorsk was built to rival the steel production capability of massive steel centers such as Gary, Indiana. Built with imported equipment and by uneducated farmers, the project is obtained with much blood and sweat.

Scott goes between depictions of daily life and descriptions of industrial conditions and materials. His accounts of daily life are the most interesting, but the information
An interesting book that takes on a decidedly different tone once you get to the appendices and find the dispatches the author sent back to the US State Dept during his stay in the USSR.
The book presented an interesting view of a segment of Russian society, from about 1932 - 1940. In the book you learn about how Russia built and industrial revolution in a very short period of time. The author kind of glazes over the atrocities and horrible conditions of these times and even of Stalins great purges of 1938 - 1939. He does talk about them, but he tries to accentuate the positive. Not really the good, but more positive then the reality probably was. He usually does this economical ...more
Too technical.
This book is not for everyone. But...if you are interested in history without being a fanatic, this is a good read. It is written as a memoir to some extent and deals with life in post-revolution Russia (USSR, whatever) and the people who immigrated there with big ideals.
Allen Lotz
An interesting story of ex-patriot moving to the freshly minted Soviet Union during the Great Depression. A little heavy on statistical data, but telling of the enduring hardships faced against the weather and the Soviet bureaucracy in forming their new government.
A compelling tale... like pretty much everyone else who thought the Soviet state was a great idea of human progress, the reality was disappointing. Worth reading to get insight into the push to industrialize and the reality of Soviet life.
Clear, journalistic writing makes this account incredibly insightful, while simultaneously (and possibly without Scott's knowledge) pointing to the extreme tension of the Soviet system.
Fascinating story of an American mechanical engineer who went to the USSR to build the Magnitogorsk iron and steel complex. Unbelievable working conditions and a fascinating story
Textbook for 20th Century Russia class. Good first hand account of Russia's first Five Year Plan. I thought it was a little dry and slow in some parts.
Steven Tiberius
Feb 27, 2007 Steven Tiberius rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Froo Froos
I can't remember a single God-foreskin thing about this book except that I read it for an Intro to Politics class my first quarter of college.
Fascinating story - primary source for a time and era for which primary sources are difficult to find. Surprisingly easy to read.
Ben Jaques
Interesting account of the early years of the Soviet Union told by an American who went to the USSR shortly after the revolution.
Melinda Brown
I read this book in college and enjoyed it greatly because it proved how horrible the communist system was.
Re-reading this for some atmosphere.
Really interesting.
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