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And Now My Soul Is Hardened: Abandoned Children In Soviet Russia, 1918-1930
by Alan M. Ball
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Ben Elkof, Slavic Review
"Ball has written a poignant but balanced and perceptive account of these poor street children and of government attempts to devise a coherent response to their existence. . . . In the process, [he] deftly interweaves social and institutional history."
G. E. Snow, Choice
"Ball argues that war and famine played a part in creating the phenomenon of millions of abandoned children in the early Soviet state. However, he also contends that economic and social conditions such as high divorce rates, simple abandonment, and single-parent families fostered by state policies contributed to this situation. . . . The work is completely accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike."
Warfare, epidemics, and famine left millions of Soviet children homeless during the 1920s. Many became beggars, prostitutes, and thieves, and were denizens of both secluded underworld haunts and bustling train stations. Alan Ball's study of these abandoned children examines their lives and the strategies the government used to remove them from the streets lest they threaten plans to mold a new socialist generation. The "rehabilitation" of these youths and the results years later are an important lesson in Soviet history.
About the Author
Alan M. Ball is Associate Professor of History at Marquette University and the author of Russia's Last Capitalists: The Nepmen, 1921-1929 (California, 1987).
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