This engrossing collection of prison memoirs by Russian women is the first to portray the direct experiences of the wide range of women who were incarcerated in Soviet prisons and camps. Comprising the stories of women from all classes and backgrounds, this book covers the entire span of the Gulag's existence from the 1920s to the 1980s, including the little-known periods of political repression of the 1960s and 1980s. These memoirs and letters provide a rich portrait of how women led everyday life in prison and in the camps, of the strategies of accommodation and resistance they employed, and the challenges they faced when they reentered Soviet society. Although readers will hear the voices of women who were in excruciating physical and emotional pain, they will also find remarkable testimonies to the agency and resilience of women who struggled against incredible odds. Written by women from all stations in life and from drastically different backgrounds, these stories reconstruct not only the world of the Gulag but also its meaning for society at large. The documents excerpted here point to areas of Soviet history and culture that have yet to be fully investigated as they illuminate women's experiences of friendship, work, hope, inspiration, loss, and terror. All the works selected for the collection are united by their authors' sense of group and individual identity. To varying degrees, all of them associate their experiences with events and people beyond their personal experiences and immediate surroundings, thus expanding the traditional perspective of women's writing. These riveting stories, never before published in English or Russian, will appeal to scholars and students of Soviet history and literature, as well as general readers interested in women's history.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 364
Weight: 717 g
Dimensions: 232 x 156 x 29 mm
This collection of memoirs and letters from the gulags will prove to be of great interest to scholars working on the Stalin era and for students who are interested in the terror. . . . This is a highly satisfactory book that anyone teaching Soviet history should read. * The Russian Review *
A major contribution to the literature on the Soviet women's history and on the outrages of the Stalin period. The excerpts are eloquent, the writers memorable. Even those well acquainted with the horrors of the Stalin years will find themselves shaken by this array of needless tragedies. * Feminist Formations *
The collection is well introduced, meticulously footnoted, and skillfully translated. . . . All the accounts are compelling. * CHOICE *