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The siege of Leningrad constituted one of the most dramatic episodes of World War II, one that individuals and the state began to commemorate almost immediately. Official representations of “heroic Leningrad” omitted and distorted a great deal. Nonetheless, survivors struggling to cope with painful memories often internalized, even if they did not completely accept, the state’s myths, and they often found their own uses for the state’s monuments. Tracing the overlap and interplay of individual memories and fifty years of Soviet mythmaking, this book contributes to understandings of both the power of Soviet identities and the delegitimizing potential of the Soviet Union’s chief legitimizing myths. Because besieged Leningrad blurred the boundaries between the largely male battlefront and the predominantly female home front, it offers a unique vantage point for a study of the gendered dimensions of the war experience, urban space, individual memory, and public commemoration.Read more
- Examines the importance of World War II in Soviet and post-Soviet politics and culture
- Traces the development of Soviet commemorations of World War II and the siege of Leningrad in particular from 1941–1995
- Examines the role of local identities in the eventual delegitimization of Soviet identities
Reviews & endorsements
"Lisa A. Kirschenbaum has written a complex, insightful book, a sophisticated account of the interdependent relationship between personal memories, official myths, and the monuments they created."
-Jonathan M. House, The Journal of Military HistorySee more reviews
"One of the most refreshing aspects to this interesting and heartfelt book is that the author has drawn on a comparative historiography of war and memory in the twentieth century...to think about her subject, as well as positioning it in the context of the Soviet cultural history."
-Elizabeth White, Canadian Slavic Papers
"With this book Kirschenbaum has created yet another monument to the epic siege of Leningrad."
-Cynthia Simmons, Boston College, American Historical Review
"This book is superb....This deeply researched, elegantly written volume is appropriate for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, as well as specialists on Russia, twentieth-century history, and the study of history and memory....This book is a signal contribution."
--Cathy A. Frierson, University of New Hampshire, The Historian
"Thanks to her clear reasoning and elegant style, theoretically founded but without too much jargon, the narrative is as exciting to read as any dramatized military history of Leningrad's defense." --Wim van Meurs, Radboud University Nijmegen: Canadian Journal of History
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- Date Published: September 2006
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521863261
- length: 326 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 160 x 27 mm
- weight: 0.581kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Part I. Making Memory in Wartime:
1. Mapping memory in St. Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad
2. The city scarred: war at home
3. Life becomes history: memories and monuments in wartime
Part II. Reconstructing and Remembering the City:
4. The city healed: victory parks and historical reconstruction
5. The return of stories from the city front
6. Heroes and victims: local monuments of the Soviet war cult
Part III. The Persistence of Memory:
7. Speaking the unspoken?
8. Mapping the return of St Petersburg
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