Home / A&E / Books / Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalin (Cornell University Press), by Miriam Dobson

Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform After Stalin (Cornell University Press), by Miriam Dobson

Book Review

Sep. 21, 2009
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Stalin’s policies led to the imprisonment of millions, and when those policies were denounced by his successor, Khrushchev, everyone expected those millions to be freed—but not everyone was happy with the idea. Miriam Dobson closely examines little-known aspects of what followed through meticulous archival research, unearthing letters of anxiety and hope by Soviet citizens to newspapers and government agencies. Khrushchev’s incredibly liberal prison reform plan, calling for community custodial care and mild sentences, ran aground on bureaucratic resistance and popular worries over rising crime. Khrushchev’s ColdSummer reveals a far more disorderly society than is usually imagined in the Soviet era, complete with a youth subculture idolizing the tattoos, slang and music of prisoners returning from the camps.

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