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Club Red
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The Bolsheviks took power in Russia 1917 armed with an ideology centered on the power of the worker. From the beginning, however, Soviet leaders also realized the need for rest and leisure within the new proletarian society and over subsequent decades struggled to reconcile the concept of leisure with the doctrine of communism, addressing such fundamental concerns as what the purpose of leisure should be in a workers' state and how socialist vacations should differ from those enjoyed by the capitalist bourgeoisie. In Club Red, Diane P. Koenker offers a sweeping and insightful history of Soviet vacationing and tourism from the Revolution through perestroika. She shows that from the outset, the regime insisted that the value of tourism and vacation time was strictly utilitarian. Throughout the 1920s and '30s, the emphasis was on providing the workers access to the "repair shops" of the nation's sanatoria or to the invigorating journeys by foot, bicycle, skis, or horseback that were the stuff of "proletarian tourism." Both the sedentary vacation and tourism were part of the regime's effort to transform the poor and often illiterate citizenry into new Soviet men and women. Koenker emphasizes a distinctive blend of purpose and pleasure in Soviet vacation policy and practice and explores a fundamental paradox: a state committed to the idea of the collective found itself promoting a vacation policy that increasingly encouraged and then had to respond to individual autonomy and selfhood. The history of Soviet tourism and vacations tells a story of freely chosen mobility that was enabled and subsidized by the state. While Koenker focuses primarily on Soviet domestic vacation travel, she also notes the decisive impact of travel abroad (mostly to other socialist countries), which shaped new worldviews, created new consumer desires, and transformed Soviet vacation practices.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Vacations, Tourism, and the Paradoxes of Soviet Culture 1. Mending the Human Motor 2. Proletarian Tourism: The Best Form of Rest 3. The Proletarian Tourist in the 1930s: Seeking the Good Life on the Road 4. Restoring Vacations after the War 5. From Treatment to Vacation: The Post-Stalin Consumer Regime 6. Post-Proletarian Tourism: The New Soviet Person Takes to the Road 7. The Modernization of Soviet Tourism Conclusion: Soviet Vacations and the Modern World Bibliography Index

About the Author

Diane P. Koenker is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Republic of Labor: Russian Printers and Soviet Socialism, 1918-1930 and Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream, and is the coeditor of Turizm: The Russian and East European Tourist under Capitalism and Socialism, all from Cornell.

Reviews

"In the early years of the Soviet era, vigorous outdoor activity held sway as a restorative and as a repudiation of the pleasure-filled, hotel-bound vacations favored in the West. Gradually, the regime made room for health sanatoriums and vacation travel, although still guided by 'scientifically planned and purposeful activities.' Ironically, these changes began in 1927, on the eve of Stalin's brutal collectivization of agriculture and first five-year plans. Koenker, with discriminating thoroughness, traces the evolution of Soviet vacationing from that point through the mid-1980s... This is well-told history, a portrait of life in the Soviet Union that will be recognizable to those who lived it."-Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs (November/December 2013) "This solidly researched history of tourism concerns rest and recreation for the masses as well as outings by more privileged groups... The book should interest historians and social scientists of the Soviet Union, as well as specialists of tourism elsewhere since she compares Soviet programs with Western tourism." - Jeffery Brookes, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (April 2014) "Diane Koenker presents a fascinating picture of the off-hours of workers in the proletarian state... Koenker combines institutional, social, cultural, identity, and gender history in a superb tale of tourism in the Soviet Union that will be useful to scholars in any of those fields. Additionally, Club Red seems especially well suited to classes on the postwar Soviet experience or comparative courses on the post-1945 world, and chapters would productive and enjoyable discussion material in undergraduate classes"- Tricia Starks, The Russian Review (April 2014) "While adding a fresh perspective to the already rather extensive literature on Stalinist consumption, Koenker's work breaks substantial new ground in this account of late socialism and its reforms of consumption and consumerism, on which only a tiny number of archive-based studies yet exist. It also lays a foundation for scholars to investigate this important aspect of the Soviet experience from other perspectives and using other methodologies, including oral history ... this ambitious, wide-ranging but still remarkably rigorous study will be of relevance and value to scholars of every period of Soviet history." -Polly Jones,Slavic Review (2014) "Club Red, Diane Koenker's excellent new book on Soviet vacation travel, adds to a countercurrent that has gathered force in the past few years. Viewed from the perspective of vacations-or, in other recent works, of automobiles, moviegoing, television, or circuses-the divisions between the NEP, Stalin, and especially Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev periods often seem less sharp than we had previously imagined. Without ignoring repression, works in this vein elucidate aspects of "normal Soviet life" that previous scholarship had tended to obscure."-Julie Hessler,The Journal of Modern History(September 2015) "Club Red's scope is impressive; Diane P. Koenker covers tourism and vacations from the Soviet Union's beginnings to its dissolution. In so doing, she describes how tourism and vacations both reflected and contributed to the transformation of Soviet society from a spartan and productivist proletarianism to the Soviet version of the 'good life.' Because Koenker situations Soviet vacations and tourism within the broader history of the role of consumerism and tourism in modern societies, Club Red's appeal will extend well beyond scholars and students of Soviet history."-Shelley Baranowski, Distinguished Professor of History, The University of Akron, author of Strength through Joy: Consumerism and Mass Tourism in the Third Reich "This impeccably researched, percipient, and engaging book is an excellent new addition to Cornell University Press's outstanding Russian and Soviet history list. Following Soviet tourists from sumptuous neoclassical 'rest homes' on the Black Sea to mule trains, from ocean liners to hitchhiking, Diane P. Koenker's Club Red explores the paradoxes of leisure time spent to 'the rule of the bell,' and, conversely, the contradictions of activities in which therapeutic and socializing regimes were offset by the quest for fun and romance. Representing Soviet institutions and 'Soviet identity' from a novel angle, the book shows how turizm took people to locations outside ordinary space and time; it makes an important contribution to the new spatial history as well as to the history of everyday life and social relations."-Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford, author of Children's World: Growing Up in Russia, 1890-1991 "Skillfully crafted, smartly written, meticulously researched, and historiographically new and important, Club Red is vintage Koenker. The author deftly dissects the paradox of how and why an authoritarian state preaching collectivist principles promoted the individual autonomy and selfhood of its citizens through vacation travel, how they lived their lives under socialism, and what this all means."-Donald J. Raleigh, Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill "From the recuperative rest homes of the 1920s to the 'wild' tourism of the 1970s, vacationing in the Soviet Union was meaningful business. In this exemplary piece of research, Diane P. Koenker shows how much the nonproductive side of life has to tell us about all aspects of the Soviet experience."-Stephen Lovell, King's College London, author of Summerfolk: A History of the Dacha, 1710-2000

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