Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cement” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.04  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A classic of socialist realism. Cement was the first novel to delineate the life of the people in relation to the economic policies of the Soviet state. Gleb, a heroic soldier, comes home from the revolution's wars to a world in transition as demonstrated by the reorganization of the local cement factory for the massive national effort. His wife, Dasha, is now a leader of ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published November 23rd 1994 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1925)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cement, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cement

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  349 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Sort order
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Most Westerners familiar with Russian Lit immediately cast this book into the 'not worthy of real literature/soviet propaganda' dustbin (I suspect because their prof told them to and, I would imagine, without even reading it). In comments below, for instance: "This book is only of academic interest... written as stalinist agitprop... bereft of any characterstics that would qualify the tome as literature."

A shame, because 'Cement' is a fascinating insight into the (granted, naive) spirit of post
Eren Buğlalılar
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-yazarlik
Güzel bir sosyalist gerçekçi roman. Sovyet Devrimi'nin ilk yıllarında, bir kasabadaki çimento fabrikasını yeniden çalışır hale getirmek için verilen mücadeleleri anlatıyor. Hem kasabadaki parti organı içinde, hem de halkla yaşanan çelişkileri Dasha ve Gleb isimli iki karakter aracılığıyla gösteriyor.

Kadın-erkek ilişkileri, yeni bir kadının yaratılması için verilen mücadele ve bunun olumlu olumsuz sonuçları Sovyet romanlarında alışık olmadığımız kadar açık bir şekilde anlatılmış. Aydın psikoloji
Ned Hanlon
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cement is a very beautifully written book. It is also deeply, massively, disconcerting. I have recently learned the term "gas lighting"; it seems to show up mostly on the internet and describes a method of making a person distrust their own reality by offering and insisting upon a new one. Cement provides a terrifying example. The world you know is not the world of the characters in the book. But that's not by some conscious choice on their part; the rules of the world just work differently.

Andrew Galbraith
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I may have contributed to the collapse of my book club by suggesting "Cement."

I became aware of the novel in university thanks to a professor of Russian history who proclaimed it "the only readable work of socialist realist fiction" (I didn't read it until years later). To the extent that it's an *interesting* book from a historical and political perspective, that may be true. But I wouldn't call it a *good* book.

It's possible that the prose in the original Russian is less turgid, as I've heard
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Did you know that the communists invented an entirely new genre for literature? When people talk about ‘Socialist Realism’ they most often think of the paintings of Diego Rivera like “Man at the Crossroads”, the heroic laborer seizing fearlessly the levers of industrial machines – the noble farmer toiling the fields. Tractors of the world unite!!! Scenes of Stalin receiving flowers from a group of ruddy little children from the Ural mountains. Pristine soviet villages sharing milk and honey.

Beverly Congdon
Apr 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Much quicker read than I had expected.

So far I have found this book to be really interesting, but probably only because how utterly Marxist it is. A Red Soldier returns home from the war victorious, eager to return to his wife, 'comrades," and factory, only to find out that the Revolution is in shambles, and that the country is in famine despite food rations. When he left three years earlier, Revolution was in the air. Now his wife's heart has hardened, his "comrades" no longer recognize him, a
Alina Stefanescu
Reviewed here.
Apr 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
At least there's a bit of sex.
The Narrator
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
reading this now; so far so good
Harvey Smith
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books in Proletariat literature.
عمران ابن مصر
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
تدور أحداثاً، خلال الفترة اللاحقة مباشرة للحرب الأهلية الروسية التي تلت نجاح ثورة 1917 مباشرة. والشخصية المحورية في الرواية هي شخصية العامل الشيوعي الذي كان قد ترك المصنع الذي يعمل فيه، مثل غيره من العمال، ليلتحق جندياً في الحرب. وها هو الآن يعود إلى بلدته وإلى مصنعه، فيفاجأ بأن يد الخراب طاولت المصنع الذي كان مفخرة المنطقة بإنتاجه الإسمنت والمواد الكهربائية. ويدرك غليب بسرعة أن تخريب المصنع والحياة في البلدة كلها لم يكن صدفة، بل من عمل الجيران والأعداء الذين فككوا ودمروا كل شيء ليعتاشوا من بيع ...more
I was supposed to have read this 30 years ago for a history class at university but never did. The little bit that I managed to get through I thought was *yawn* boring.

This time around, however, I found it rather interesting. If you read it not as a work of historical fiction, but as a work of fiction written in the past about mostly current events, it takes on a different character. That we get to read it in English also gives it a different character, I'm sure, than one would find in its origi
Jack Allen
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: freshman-year
Struggled to get going at the start, but later on became much more interesting!

Read for SLA221.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
even though it takes place in Russia during the revolution, it thoroughly depressed me that the situations described are still strangely familiar to Hungary 100 years later...
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, russian-lit
In general I am a huge fan of Russian Literature but this book just really didn't do it for me. I can't say if it was the translation (it's the only one that I could find) or just the writing but I had a very hard time getting into this book.

I felt that many of the characters weren't developed or motivated that well. There were a lot of good concepts and ideas and I think it was an interesting picture of Soviet Realism but there is still a minimum bar of writing that this book just didn't meet
Apr 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Gladkov's Cement is as boring as creating the mixture yourself. It is a landmark novel of socialist realism in Russia. If you are interested in the concept of socialist realism, then I recommend you read this novel. Overall, you will receive a great dose of each person as a machine and the world as one big factory.
David Bober
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
So the New Economic Policy works, thanks to the cadre leadership of dear comrades such as Gleb Chumalov. Harrah! And let's all celebrate the fourth anniversary of the revolution by restarting production at the cement factory. But the crumbling of family life and the death of poor Nyurka... oh... such human costs... so very Russian.
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
not sure if i'd call this propaganda. gladkov certainly has an idealized view of labor politics, but is also fairly pessimistic towards soviet bureaucracy. actually seems like the jumping-off point for people like victor serge or arthur koestler. can't argue with people who think it's boring though. like "the iron heel" or "the jungle," the politics are interesting but the plot is dry as a bone.
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Definitely an interesting read for somebody interested in Russian literature, particularly that of the 20th century. It does have some merit, but the Soviet Realism genre that it is beginning is a mode of propaganda, so you have to consider that when reading. It's difficult to tease out the author's opinions, and difficult at times to see this as a novel promoting communism.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Предсталински роман за работническата класа в началото на 20-те в Русия. Чиста пропаганда. Тъжно е да се чете, но е информативно. Много ме впечатли култът към личността - Ленин ги гледа от стената, в духа на Ленин си храбър и честен... от една религия се е преминало към друга.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, slavic, classics
Interesting in the context of Soviet literature and culture, but not a book I would read for fun...although I would be interested in reading some of his other edits of the novel.
Dee W.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Fantastic story, slow realization of a never ending plot. Soviet Literature has a way describing everything and explaining nothing.
Dec 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: half-read
This book is only of academic interest as the book was written as stalinist agitprop and is bereft of any characterstics that would qualify the tome as literature.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
Historically interesting, definitely. Not, however, a book to read for fun.
Kitaneh Fitzpatrick
Dec 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Historically significant. Atrociously written.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Not an easy read, but an interesting one.
John Miller
Dec 06, 2007 rated it liked it
not a good book per se, but good as an insight into official soviet culture, i.e., its
R.K. Cowles
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3 1/2 stars
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn
  • Happy Moscow
  • Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War
  • Land of the Spotted Eagle
  • A Brief History of Tea
  • A Guide for the Advanced Soul: A Book of Insight Tag - Hold a Problem in Your Mind
  • Mashi, And Other Stories
  • The Village
  • The Galosh: And Other Stories
  • The Complete Works of Isaac Babel
  • Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World
  • Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution
  • The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939 (Annals of Communism Series)
  • Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom For a Complicated World
  • Sofia Petrovna
  • A History of Russia
  • Pushkin House
  • On with the Story
Feodor Vasilyevich Gladkov (Russian: Фёдор Васильевич Гладков) was a Soviet Socialist realist writer. Gladkov joined a Communist group in 1904, and in 1905 went to Tiflis (now Tbilisi) and was arrested there for revolutionary activities. He was sentenced to three years' exile. He then moved to Novorossiisk. Among other positions, he served as the editor of the newspaper Krasnoye Chernomorye, secre ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“The fate of all books, Serge, is to be the prison of thought. Each book is a noose for human liberty. Isn't it true that all these shelves look like iron bars? Aspiring to immortality, the human spirit produces a book - its own tomb. An inexorable doom, Serge: man is in permanent rebellion, and rebellion is no more than a leap from one prison to another; from one's mother's womb into the womb of society, into the shackles of obligatory rules, and from there - into the grave! Marcus Aurelius was no fool: he knew how to sense freedom while rattling his chains, and possessed sufficient wisdom to look through the walls of his prison.” 0 likes
“Without understanding why, Gleb felt wings unfolding in his soul. All this, the mountains, the sea, the factory, the town and the boundless distances beyond the horizon - the whole of Russia, we ourselves. All this immensity - the mountains, the factory, the distances - all were singing in their depths the song of our mighty labour. Do not our hands tremble at the thought of our back-breaking task, a task for giants? Will not our hearts burst with the tide of our blood? This is Workers' Russia; this is us; the new world of which mankind has dreamed throughout the centuries. This is the beginning: the first indrawn breath before the first blow. It is. It will be. The thunder roars.” 0 likes
More quotes…