The War Within: Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad (Hardback)Alexis Peri (author)
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Winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2018
We are living the primitive life of savages on an uninhabited island.
A historian at Boston University, Alexis Peri was interviewing survivors of the Second World War when she stumbled across an extraordinary, previously unseen archive. It contained 125 diaries, chronicling the reality of life for ordinary people during the 872 days of the German blockade of Leningrad.
The siege was one of the longest and most notorious in modern history, costing almost a million civilian lives. Pulling together the voices of those who lived through the experience, Alexis Peri tells the tragic, intimate story of how citizens struggled to make sense of a world collapsing around them.
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Number of pages: 302
Weight: 771 g
Dimensions: 156 x 235 x 33 mm
‘An extraordinary insight into one of the most notorious and brutal military sieges in history.’ - The Guardian
'Stand aside, Homer. I doubt whether even the author of the Iliad could have matched Alexis Peri's account of the 872-day siege which Leningrad endured after Hitler's army encircled the city in September 1941...[A] magnificent narrative.' - Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectator
'In the winter of 1941 1942, civilians in blockaded Leningrad lived on the very edge of death. Conveying their life stories and struggles with great sensitivity, Peri draws on more than a hundred largely unpublished diaries to explore how the external crisis provoked an internal crisis that destabilized Leningraders fundamental understandings of themselves, the Soviet Union, and the world.' -Lisa A. Kirschenbaum, author of The Legacy of the Siege of Leningrad, 1941-1995: Myth, Memories, and Monuments"
'Diaries from the Stalin era tend to be analyzed in numbers too small to provide more than a glimpse of everyday life. Here, however, Peri has assembled over a hundred of these rare records, which allows for unprecedented insight into the trials and tribulations that ordinary people experienced during one of their greatest ordeals: the 900-day siege of Leningrad. This is a truly groundbreaking study.' - David Brandenberger, author of Propaganda State in Crisis: Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under Stalin, 1927-1941
'Vivid, true, and magnificently crafted. Peri has peeled away layer after layer of the human record to its core--physical, mental, spiritual.' - Nina Tumarkin, author of Lenin Lives!
'By mining an extraordinarily rich treasure trove of unpublished diaries, Peri moves beyond relating what happened during the blockade and instead explains how Leningraders made sense of it. Sophisticated, nuanced, and extremely well written, The War Within is a major contribution to our understanding of the mentality of Leningrad's civilians during the blockade and the role that diaries played in Soviet history.' - Richard Bidlack, coauthor of The Leningrad Blockade, 1941-1944: A New Documentary History from the Soviet Archives
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