Allan K. Wildman Group Historical Series

The Allan K. Wildman Group for the Study of Russian Politics, Society, and Culture in the Revolutionary Era has established its Historical Series to promote research in to the history of the workers, peasants, and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial and Soviet Russia.

Series General Editors

Michael Melancon  Professor Emeritus
Auburn University, USA

Alice K. Pate   Professor of History
Kennesaw State University, USA



Everyday Life and the "Reconstruction" of Soviet Russia During and After the Great Patriotic War, 1943–1948 reminds us of how little we know about the end of the war and the immediate post-war era in the Soviet Union. Jones uses the case of Rostov-on-Don, totally devastated by the vast battles that raged around it, to reveal how people and party responded to the grim task that confronted them after the German forces were expelled. Society and state both strived to rebuild but comprehended the process differently. In the official "reconstruction" mythology, state and party leaders portrayed themselves as a vanguard, whereas local populations, mostly workers, saw them as a privileged elite. The chapters revolve around these conflicting interpretative ideologies, as expressed through official public sources, internal documents, police reports on the population, and interviews and memoirs. What emerges is a portrayal, compelling and persuasive, of the physical realities of rebuilding the infrastructures of modern life and the ways various elements of society perceived the process. Jones' study will help define our approaches to chronicling post-war Soviet life, the most exciting new field in Russian historiography. From the Introduction: The period officially dubbed “reconstruction” has not received due attention in the scholarly literature. The natural tendency is to look at the war years (1941–45) or concentrate on the period from the end of the war to Stalin’s death (1945–53). Yet the period of reconstruction (1943–48) is vitally important in part precisely because it bridges the war and postwar periods. The end of the war in Europe in May 1945 is, of course, highly significant […] However, the end of the war is not the natural breaking point historians often designate it as because many of the issues facing societies in the immediate postwar period were rooted in the prewar and war years. […] The regime’s heroic tale of “reconstruction” ended abruptly (and somewhat arbitrarily) in 1948 [the year of the Soviet blockade of Berlin and the US and British airlift to end it], a year which many scholars in Soviet history have noted as an important turning point [and] relations with the USSR’s wartime allies had turned cold.


This book is Volume 3 of the  Allan K. Wildman Group Historical Series


An exploration of the extent to which worker religious identity was trans–formed by the experience of urban factory life, Working Souls also examines how the spiritual needs and demands of working-class laity precipitated changes in the practice of Orthodoxy, enabling the faith to “survive” in the urban factory environment—not just as a remnant of rural consciousness and practice, but as an evolving and sometimes essential dimension of worker culture. In spite of the central role played by worker-atheists in the revolutionary narratives of 1905 and 1917, the majority of Russian workers in the late Imperial era continued to view their lives and the society around them through the prism of religious belief, even in St. Petersburg, the most secularized and radical city in the Empire. This book is devoted to their story; it gives voice and visibility to workers who reacted to the material and spiritual poverty of the “modern” factory in fundamentally religious, though often un-Orthodox, ways. This study explores the extent to which the various components of workers’ religious identity—their practices, sensibilities, communities, and beliefs about God, self, and society—were transformed by the experience of urban factory life.

At the same time, it looks at the myriad ways in which the spiritual needs and demands of the working-class laity precipitated changes in the practice of Orthodoxy—how rituals were adapted, identities reshaped and communities restructured—enabling the faith to “survive” in the urban factory environment not just as an archaic remnant of rural consciousness and practice, but as an evolving and sometimes essential dimension of worker culture. No less importantly, this book focuses on the response of the Orthodox clergy to workers’ religious and spiritual struggles, emphasizing the moral complexities posed by crisis of labor in 1905. Finally, Working Souls highlights the religious dimensions of the emerging labor and revolutionary movements, and in so doing, reveals important intellectual and moral parallels between the popular spiritual and political revolutions of 1905–17.

“Well-written, broadly researched, and insightful, this book offers a sensitive, multifaceted exploration of religiosity in the Russian working class in the turbulent revolutionary years of the early twentieth century.” ~ Gregory Freeze

“Based on ‘new and fascinating material, drawn from archives, the contemporary religious press, and memoirs,’ it ‘constitutes a sensitive and nuanced reconstruction of the texture of worker religious culture in St. Petersburg in the last decades of the old regime,’ and ‘illuminates vital aspects of the history of labor in late-imperial Russia that were seriously neglected in the heyday of labor history.” ~ Steve Smith

This book is Volume 2 of the  Allan K. Wildman Group Historical Series


New Labor History marks a first return to labor and workers' history in the Russian field after a decade when most historians turned to other issues. In this collection, established scholars join with younger researchers to bring new materials, innovative methods, and fresh interpretations to bear on the study of the workers' role in late tsarist and revolutionary history (1840-1918). The collection suggests the need to re-examine the experiences and aspirations of workers and, by implication, other groups in order to gain striking new insights into the pre-revolutionary era and the revolutionary process itself. The co-editors and participants hope to rekindle interest in an area of research that many have thought had exhausted its ability to intrigue, that is, to raise questions and promote hard thinking about late imperial Russia.

This book is Volume 1 of the  Allan K. Wildman Group Historical Series

Book Reviews

Review in Canadian-American Slavic Studies, Volume 39, Issue 2-3, 2005: 288 – 290