Andy Willimott

Andy Willimott

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Andy Willimott

Andy Willimott is an historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union.

He has published on the social and cultural history of revolutionary Russia and the early Soviet state, with a particular interest in the formation and experience of radical ideology.
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Living the Revolution: Urban Communes & Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932

His book, Living the Revolution: Urban Communes & Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932 (Oxford University Press), offers a penetrating insight into the world of the early Soviet activist. At the heart of this book are a cast of fiery-eyed, bed-headed youths determined to be the change they wanted to see in the world. First banding together in the wake of the October Revolution, seizing hold of urban apartments, youthful enthusiasts tried to offer practical examples of socialist living. Calling themselves ‘urban communes’, they embraced total equality and shared everything from money to underwear. By tell their story, this book reveals how grand revolutionary ideals were experienced, understood, and appropriated on a human level. This is the tale of revolutionary aspiration, appropriation, and participation at the ground level. Never officially sanctioned by the Communist Party, the urban communes challenge our traditional understanding of the early Soviet state, presenting Soviet ideology as something that could both frame and fire the imagination.

Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide

Willimott is also co-editor of Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide (Routledge).
This book is the product of a series of workshops held in the UK and the USA, the premise of which was to suggest that 1917 is the wrong departure point for a full analysis of the social and cultural particularities of the Soviet Union. Breaking away from the binary of ‘change and continuity’ or ‘tradition vs. modernity’, however, this book asks how the new and the old came together to forge the Soviet experience ‘across 1917’. Among other things, it examines the social and cultural frameworks that helped determine Soviet perceptions of social duty, justice, and governance. Ultimately, this book seeks to help reshape the way we study the Russian Revolution.

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SQSwans Andy Willimott Reports

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