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Moscow, 1937

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Moscow, 1937: the soviet metropolis at the zenith of Stalin's dictatorship. A society utterly wrecked by a hurricane of violence. In this compelling book, the renowned historian Karl Schlogel reconstructs with meticulous care the process through which, month by month, the terrorism of a state-of-emergency regime spiraled into the 'Great Terror' during which 1 1/2 million h ...more
Published (first published 2006)
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Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-history
I was genuinely sorry to finish this book. Professor Schlogel has written a vast tapestry-like description of life in all its aspects in Moscow during the Great Terror. We see the city from almost every angle: from the cultural salons, the hotel dining rooms to the inmates of the gulag adjacent to the city where they were building the Moscow-Volga canal under the most brutal of conditions. There are the lives of the political and cultural elite, and there are the workers of the Stalin Automobile ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, russia
Wer sich für die russische Geschichte der 1. Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts interessiert kommt an Schlögel eigentlich nicht vorbei und das es gut so, denn alle seine Werke - so auch dieses - sind ausgesprochen eingängig geschrieben (man braucht auch die 100 Seiten Endnoten nicht zu lesen), lehrreich und vor allem Dingen bemüht, die verschiedenen Stränge des soziologischen Phänomens Geschichte zu erfassen.
L’universo dei libri è un sistema organizzato, in cui un testo richiama l’altro. Capita così di trovare continui legami e richiami tra i libri che si leggono. Questa volta, intrapresa la lettura di Novantatré di Victor Hugo, ispirato ai fatti del Terrore che seguirono la Rivoluzione francese, mi trovo tra le mani un saggio che cerca di dare un quadro esauriente di un altro Terrore seguito a una rivoluzione: il Terrore staliniano del 1937. Tanto il romanzo di Hugo quanto il saggio di Schlögel si ...more
Apparently nobody in my local library was interested anymore in this book, as it was sold for 1 Euro at the annual book sale. Focusing on approximately one year and one place, it explores both the exploits of the year (the records of the pilots, the grand Pushkin festival and World Exhibition building, exploration of the Arctic, ..) and the terror (the show trials and the arrests on a mass scale of the enemies of the people). The author wants to prove that terror and dream can't be seen separate ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retrato exhaustivo del Moscú de 1937: La historia social, la vida cotidiana, las purgas, la deformación de las leyes, corrupción judicial, encarcelamientos masivos... Totalitarismo en suma. Una obra monumental sobre un trágico periodo histórico.
Hans Luiten
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rusland
Wat een geweldig boek! Schlögel onderzoekt het stalinisme aan de hand van telefoonboeken, brieven, plattegronden, fotoboeken, toeristenbrochures en nog veel meer. De totale en totale krankzinnigheid en wreedheid van deze periode dringt zo steeds meer binnen.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gaylord Dold
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Schloegel, Karl. Moscow 1937, Polity Press, New York, 2013, Trans by Rodney Livingstone (653pp.$35)

In the year of the Great Terror, a brilliant piece of reportage about America appeared in the Soviet Union and became in its time one of the most widely read bits of travel journalism, popular with everyone in Russia. The political newspaper Pravda commissioned two journalists, Il’ia Il’f and Evgenii Petrov, to travel in the United States and write an account of the country.

Called “Little Golden A
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schlögels Buch hat mich über mehrere Monate begleitet. Da die einzelnen Kapitel als Referenzpunkt zwar das Jahr 1937 haben, ansonsten aber durchaus als eigenständige Skizzen gelesen werden können, ist es unproblematisch, das Buch ein paar Wochen liegenzulassen und dann weiter zu lesen.
Schlögel ist es gelungen, ein gelehrtes Buch zu schreiben, in einer sehr gut lesbaren, nicht wissenschaftlichen, sondern prosaischen, manchmal sogar poetischen Sprache, ein Großessay sozusagen.

Beeindruckend sind di
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historia
Por lo general cuanto en la escuela enseñan sobre Rusia se ve solo dos temas los años de la Rusia imperial o los crímenes y guerras de la Unión Sovietica. Este libro explora un momento paradójico pues por un lado Moscu esta cambiando su arquitectura y esta en pleno boom cultura. Al mismo tiempo se asesinan y desaparece a miles de ciudadanos sospechosos de conspirar contra el estado. Muy recomendable texto, no obstante es un tanto denso y con muchos detalles y datos; toma tiempo su lectura.
Willy Marz Thiessam
Karl Schlögel is to be commended for what is a very readable and well written book generally. The book outlines the critical year of 1937 in which many Soviet people died in a political purge orchestrated and directed by the centre of power in Moscow.

Using atmosphere, dodgy statistics, innuendo and endless repetition the likes of Stalin and the public prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky got rid of thousands of people that were suspected of disloyalty to the state.

Why? Because they knew a war would bre
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The original title, Terror und Traum (Terror and Dream), really summarises the book perfectly. Schlögel paints a wide tapestry over Moscow and the Soviet Union at a time when it had emerged from the civil war and the future looked bright, but hundreds of thousands were consumed by Stalin’s terror.

We taken on a flight through the new Moscow, a modern city growing ferociously, where the Palace of the Soviets is just being built, where the lunapark in Gorkij Park is entertaining children and adult
Alain Leibman
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Perhaps one’s response to this book depends on one’s predisposition. Or, as one of my professors once said, “where you stand depends upon where you sit.” If one’s idea of a thorough and engaging historical analysis of, say, a farm crisis is reading crop reports and production details, then this book may satisfy. But for someone looking for fewer mind-numbing statistics and more concision, this is not for you. Proving the banality and thoroughness of the 1937 terror by minutely dissecting a Mosco ...more
Thore Husfeldt
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(English summary below.)

Karl Schlögels Terror und Traum präsentiert dreiunddreissig Aspekte Moskaus im ätzenden Wahnsinn des stalinistischen Terrors 1937. Einige Kapitel sind mit Alltäglichem beschäftigt, Schlangestehen, Warenangebot, Radio, Jazz, Vergnügungsparks. Andere beleuchten Struktur und Diskurs des kulturellen und politischen Systems: ein Architektenkongress, Moskaubilder in Bulgakovs Roman oder ausländischen Reportagen, der sowjetische Pavillon auf der Pariser Weltausstellung. Manches
May 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
There was a lot to like in this book but in the end to me it was just too plodding and detailed. I found myself frequently skimming and towards the end rapidly skimming.

The overall concept and context is compelling - Moscow in 1937 is looking back in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Revolution - and looking forward to a looming conflict with the Fascist forces to the east and west. Stalin’s government, nervous that it does not have full control of the sprawling nation, doubles down on a
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a dystopia. Life in Moscow in 1937 is a place where you could be hailed as a hero in the spring and executed as a traitor in the fall. One image that sticks in my mind is that of vodka being served by the pailful to the executioners to help them deaden themselves to the overwhelming numbers of people they had to execute every day.
Nate Briggs
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very rewarding book - if you're very interested in Stalinism. Solzhenitsyn also covers this material a bit more dramatically - but Schlogel is interested in giving you a 360 degree picture of the culture and the atmosphere of the time. It's a long read, so you do need a burning interest in the topic.
Aveugle Vogel
"dressed in a terrible suit"
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book, unlike anything I've ever read before. Set in Moscow during the terror of the purges and the show trials, Schlogel does not give you a play-by-play history of those events. Rather, he wants to give you a comprehensive picture of the city during this tumultuous time--a time when the Soviet Union seemed on the verge of fulfilling the socialist dream and dream and terror co-existed strangely.

Schlogel covers major events of the year, such as the Pushkin festival, film openings, p
Dainius Jocas
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pats sau pavydžiu, kad perskaičiau šią knygą.

Nors niekada Maskvoje ir nebuvau, tačiau Maskva 1937-aisiais man tiek pat vaizdinga, kaip ir mano paties prisiminimai iš įvairių kelionių. Knygoje labai tiksliai perteikiami vaizdai, pvz. paskutinis skyrius apie Tarybų rūmų statybų projektą - pirma aprašytą Kristaus Išganytojo soboras, jo istorija, sprogdinimo darbai, tada aprašyta grandiozinių planų Tarybų rūmams kūrimo istorija, ir tos istorijos atomazga - Kristaus Išganytojo soboras atstatyttas 199
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Ich habe an diesem Buch tatsächlich ein halbes Jahr gelesen – allerdings immer wieder mit Unterbrechungen, und für ein Sachbuch von über 700 Seiten ist das gar nicht mal sooo schlecht.

Das Ganze ist ein gründlicher Rundumschlag über sämtliche Aspekte der russischen und sowjetischen Geschichte. Das Jahr 1937 steht hier auf der einen Seite für den Großen Terror, während dem zahlreiche Menschen den “Säuberungen” zum Opfer fielen, auf der anderen Seite zeigt ein Blick auf dieses Jahr ein Land auf dem
Dominic Basulto
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has ever lived or visited in Moscow, this is a must-read. The book - described as a "dazzling 650-page feat of historical reconstruction" by The Atlantic - captures in gripping detail every facet of Moscow life in the year 1937, which turns out to be the most momentous year ever in the history of the Russian capital. It's 1937, 20 years after the revolution, and the country is just about to experience the peak of Stalin's Great Terror. Everyday life is like a scene out of Bulgakov ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I combined reading this book with reading "The Devil and Margarita" by Bulgakov. It is not history as narrative but by description. A description of a society on the cusp of ruin just before the Stalinist purges get fully in gear. Having also read Figes history of the Russian Revolution this book became a double tragedy. Just as Russia was escaping from the tragedies of the October Revolution it was tipped into even greater horrors. How this country was able to survive and triumph during WWII af ...more
Rod Zemke
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
An interesting a different kind of book. Each chapter describes of different aspect of what what happening in Moscow (and USSR) during this time period. 1937 was the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. One chapter describes what was happening on the architectural front during this time period. Included in the book are a few examples of the art deco influence on Moscow's subways. The book is scholarly which is another way of saying it can be pretty heavy at times. It is a good choice for ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this history of Moscow in 1937, Karl Schlogel applies Bakhtin's idea of the chronotope to attempt to capture Moscow's history, integrating time and place. He attempts to capture a wide ranging history of Moscow's politics, society, and culture, rejecting such labels as history from above or below as limiting the scope of the historical narrative. Instead, the author represents Moscow's chronotope through a series of vignettes, each focusing on a different aspect of society in that fateful yea ...more
Michael Samerdyke
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting book on Soviet history. The author selected one place (Moscow) and one year (1937) and looked at the cultural, social and political events that happened. (This was the peak year of the Purges by the way.) The result was fascinating and showed how seemingly contradictory things worked together to sustain the regime.

This book was originally written in German. The American version has some flaws. There are typos, and some of the translation could be better expressed. How
Edward Newman
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
So far, terrific. Fascinating, thorough portrait of a major city on the brink of an abyss. Shivers run down your back as Stalin's show trials, purges, propaganda and building all try to reshape an entire society.
At the end: essential, together with Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands" for understanding what befell the Eastern Part of Europe from the 1920's forward-surprisingly(too me) race war by Stalin as well as Hitler, toward the goal of new men/new civilization. "Moscow 1937" focuses on the impact
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dit is een enorme pil, maar fascinerend om te lezen. In het boek wordt het hele jaar 1937 in Moskou behandeld en dat was het jaar van de z.g. show trials. Het is nu niet meer voor te stellen, dat dat allemaal heeft kunnen gebeuren. En dat zo'n man als Stalin zo ongestraft zijn gang kon aan.
Los van de guwelijkheden vertelt de schrijver ook veel over de culturele aspecten van die tijd en over het leven van de gewone man. Heel interesant.
Gordon Howard
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
A monumental look at Russia's capital city in 1937, the year of the great terror and the terrible purges. Translated from German, and as a result is sometimes awkward. Very episodic, with chapters on terrible events instigated by Stalin and his government interspersed with lighter topics, which are nonetheless tinted with the dark doings going on. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting a refresher course on the monstrous nature of Soviet Communism.
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Schlögel uses every method available to the historian to give a total account of a different time and place so that we may comprehend the Terror that befell it. Moscow 1937 is composed of a series of disparate narratives with no apparent progression, yet it is through this form that the final impression of the history is achieved.
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“This diversity of social and semi-governmental institutions and organizations gives us not merely an insight into the immense complexity of an urban society, but also an inkling of the huge efforts and even violence required if they are to be disciplined, levelled down and made uniform. We come to realize all the things that must be done to ensure that the hundreds of newspapers and magazines follow the same linguistic line, the theatre repertoires are made to conform, and the libraries and bookshops are purged of the works of writers who have not kept up with the times. What must happen to ensure that museums, whose exhibitions and displays necessarily reflect long-term efforts, accept the inevitability of a new line and a new course? And what must be done to ensure that hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren feel ready to accept a new canon” 0 likes
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