The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution

Author(s): Yuri Slezkine

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On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the epic story of an enormous apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment. Written in the tradition of Tolstoy's War and Peace, Grossman's Life and Fate, and Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Yuri Slezkine's gripping narrative tells the true story of the residents of an enormous Moscow apartment building where top Communist officials and their families lived before they were destroyed in Stalin's purges. A vivid account of the personal and public lives of Bolshevik true believers, the book begins with their conversion to Communism and ends with their children's loss of faith and the fall of the Soviet Union. Completed in 1931, the House of Government, later known as the House on the Embankment, was located across the Moscow River from the Kremlin. The largest residential building in Europe, it combined 550 furnished apartments with public spaces that included everything from a movie theater and a library to a tennis court and a shooting range. Slezkine tells the chilling story of how the building's residents lived in their apartments and ruled the Soviet state until some eight hundred of them were evicted from the House and led, one by one, to prison or their deaths. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews, and featuring hundreds of rare photographs, The House of Government weaves together biography, literary criticism, architectural history, and fascinating new theories of revolutions, millennial prophecies, and reigns of terror. The result is an unforgettable human saga of a building that, like the Soviet Union itself, became a haunted house, forever disturbed by the ghosts of the disappeared.


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Commended for "New York Times" Editors' Choice, 8-24-17.

"Mammoth and profusely researched... A work begging to be debated; Slezkine aggregates mountains of detail for an enthralling account of the rise and fall of the revolutionary generation."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Yuri Slezkine is the Jane K. Sather Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include The Jewish Century (Princeton), which won the National Jewish Book Award.

Preface xiAcknowledgments xvii1 En RouteI Anticipation 31 The Swamp 52 The Preachers 233 The Faith 73II Fulfillment 1194 The Real Day 1215 The Last Battle 1586 The New City 1807 The Great Disappointment 2208 The Party Line 2722 At HomeIII The Second Coming 3159 The Eternal House 31710 The New Tenants 37711 The Economic Foundations 40812 The Virgin Lands 42113 The Ideological Substance 454IV The Reign of the Saints 47914 The New Life 48115 The Days Off 50816 The Houses of Rest 53517 The Next of Kin 55218 The Center of the World 58219 The Pettiness of Existence 61020 The Thought of Death 62321 The Happy Childhood 64522 The New Men 6653 On TrialV The Last Judgment 69723 The Telephone Call 69924 The Admission of Guilt 71525 The Valley of the Dead 75326 The Knock on the Door 77327 The Good People 81328 The Supreme Penalty 840VI The Afterlife 87129 The End of Childhood 87330 The Persistence of Happiness 88731 The Coming of War 91232 The Return 92433 The End 946Epilogue: The House on the Embankment 961Appendix: Partial List of Leaseholders 983Notes 995Index 1083

General Fields

  • : 9780691176949
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : 1.503
  • : July 2017
  • : 235mm X 152mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 1096
  • : 1
  • : Hardback
  • : Yuri Slezkine