Catalogue

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Inventing a Soviet countryside : State power and the transformation of rural Russia, 1917-1929 /
James W. Heinzen.
imprint
Pittsburg, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2004.
description
x, 297 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0822942151 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Pittsburg, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2004.
isbn
0822942151 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction. A false start : the birth and early activities of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture, 1917- 1920 -- A struggle for identity : the uncertain transition to the New Economic Policy, 1921-1923 -- "Too many comrades misunderstand the countryside" : a commissariat comes of age, 1923-1927 -- Socialism in one countryside : architects of a new rural Russia, 1923-1927 -- Professional identity and the vision of the modern Soviet countryside : local agricultural specialists, 1927-1929 -- Better red than bread? : purge, collectivization, and the defeat of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture, 1927-1929.
catalogue key
5303284
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
James W. Heinzen is assistant professor of history at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-10-01:
Heinzen (Rowan Univ.) has written a history of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture from its establishment in 1917 until the eve of forced collectivization in 1929. Making good use of previously untapped archives, he tells the inside story of the Commissariat's personnel and their hopes and plans for Russian agriculture up to the moment they were dismissed, so others could carry out collectivization. Along the way, Heinzen relates brief, interesting stories about struggles with the Commissariat of Food Supply to set policy; the appointment of a largely ignored peasant commissar; efforts to stimulate agricultural production during the New Economic Policy (NEP); the famine of 1921; and more. He provides cameo biographies of commissars and leading specialists. The largest point on which Heinzen disagrees with previous authors is his claim that the Commissariat's specialists supported peasant communal farming as a closer approximation of the socialized future they envisioned. No other book has taken so close a look at the arguments about peasant land use that were centered in the commissariat in this period. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and faculty collections. B. F. Adams University of Louisville
Reviews
Review Quotes
“James W. Heinzen’s work fills a significant gap in the extensive historiography of the New Economic Policy (NEP) . . . The book studies the organization and staffing of NKZem RSFSR, offers some memorable portraits of its leading figures, especially its head, Alexander Petrovich Smirnov, and delves into the complexity of policy making in this era and the clash of institutional interests that had a major impact on policy. . . . Heinzen makes a convincing case that Smirnov and the specialists in NKZem RSFSR were one of the major sources of ideas and policies for the ‘Rightists’ within the party leadership. . . . The book is distinguished by its thoroughness, and by its cool and balanced judgment. . . . This study brings out the full complexity of the Bolshevik regime, its dilemmas, and its internal contraditions.” --American Historical Review
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2004
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
An examination of the political, social and cultural dilemmas present in the Bolshevik's strategy for modernizing the peasantry in Revolutionary Russia, focusing on the state employees charged with no less than a complete transformation of an entire class of people.
Main Description
Following the largest peasant revolution in history, Russia's urban-based Bolshevik regime was faced with a monumental task: to peacefully “modernize” and eventually “socialize” the peasants in the countryside surrounding Russia's cities. To accomplish this, the Bolshevik leadership created the People's Commissariat of Agriculture (Narkomzem), which would eventually employ 70,000 workers. This commissariat was particularly important, both because of massive famine and because peasants composed the majority of Russia's population; it was also regarded as one of the most moderate state agencies because of its nonviolent approach to rural transformation. Working from recently opened historical archives, James Heinzen presents a balanced, thorough examination of the political, social, and cultural dilemmas present in the Bolsheviks' strategy for modernizing of the peasantry. He especially focuses on the state employees charged with no less than a complete transformation of an entire class of people. Heinzen ultimately shows how disputes among those involved in this plan-from the government, to Communist leaders, to the peasants themselves-led to the shuttering of the Commissariat of Agriculture and to Stalin's cataclysmic 1929 collectivization of agriculture.
Unpaid Annotation
Following the largest peasant revolution in history, Russia's urban-based Bolshevik regime was faced with a monumental task: to peacefully "modernize" and eventually "socialize" the peasants in the countryside surrounding Russia's cities. To accomplish this, the Bolshevik leadership created the People's Commissariat of Agriculture (Narkomzem), Which would eventually employ 70,000 workers. This commissariat was particularly important, both because of massive famine and because peasants composed the majority of Russia's population; it was also regarded as one of the most moderate state agencies because of its nonviolent approach to rural transformation. Working from recently opened historical archives, James Heinzen presents a balanced, thorough examination of the political, social, and cultural dilemmas present in the Bolshevik's strategy for modernizing of the peasantry. He especially focuses on the state employees charged with no less than a complete transformation of an entire class of people. Heinzen ultimately shows how disputes among those involved in this plan--from the government, to Communist leaders, to the peasants themselves--led to the shuttering of the Commissariat of Agriculture and to Stalin's cataclysmic 1929 collectivization of agriculture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
A False Start: The Birth and Early Activities of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture, 1917-1920p. 11
A Struggle for Identity: The Uncertain Transition to the New Economic Policy, 1921-1923p. 47
"Too Many Comrades Misunderstand the Countryside": A Commissariat Comes of Age, 1923-1926p. 91
Socialism in One Countryside: Architects of a New Rural Russia, 1923-1926p. 136
Professional Identity and the Vision of the Modern Soviet Countryside: Local Agricultural Specialists, 1927-1929p. 171
Better Red than Bread? Purge, Collectivization, and the Defeat of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture, 1927-1929p. 185
Conclusionp. 220
Glossary and Abbreviationsp. 229
Notesp. 231
Bibliographyp. 280
Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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