Wheelers Books
A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism

A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism (Trade Paperback / Paperback)

By Smolkin, Victoria

  • RRP: $82.00
  • $73.80
  • Save $8.20
  • Delayed Release

When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools--from education to propaganda to terror--to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even... read full description below.

ISBN 9780691197234
Barcode 9780691197234
Published 15 September 2019
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (2 other possible title(s) available)
Availability
Pre-order title, release date has been delayed

... view full title details below.

Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780691197234
ISBN-10 0691197237
Stock Available
Status Pre-order title, release date has been delayed
Publisher unlisted
Imprint Princeton University Press
Publication Date 15 September 2019
International Release Date 29 October 2019
Publication Country United States United States
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Smolkin, Victoria
Category European History
History Of Religion
Agnosticism & Atheism
Revolutions & Coups
Number of Pages 360
Dimensions Width: 156mm
Height: 235mm
Weight Not specified - defaults to 600g
Interest Age 19+ years
Reading Age 19+ years
Library of Congress History, Religion, Atheism, Soviet Union, Communism and religion
NBS Text Regional History
ONIX Text General/trade;Professional and scholarly
Dewey Code 211.80947
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools--from education to propaganda to terror--to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even with its monopoly on ideology and power, the Soviet Communist Party never succeeded in overcoming religion and creating an atheist society. A Sacred Space Is Never Empty presents the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews with those who were on the front lines of Communist ideological campaigns, Victoria Smolkin argues that to understand the Soviet experiment, we must make sense of Soviet atheism. Smolkin shows how atheism was reimagined as an alternative cosmology with its own set of positive beliefs, practices, and spiritual commitments. Through its engagements with religion, the Soviet leadership realized that removing religion from the sacred spaces of Soviet life was not enough. Then, in the final years of the Soviet experiment, Mikhail Gorbachev--in a stunning and unexpected reversal--abandoned atheism and reintroduced religion into Soviet public life. A Sacred Space Is Never Empty explores the meaning of atheism for religious life, for Communist ideology, and for Soviet politics.

^ top

Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review [The] historical backdrop of Russia's remarkable journey from Orthodoxy to atheism, and back again, is chronicled in Victoria Smolkin's A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism. It is the first full account of Soviet atheism, from the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. This engaging book is full of striking analysis and counterintuitive insights. ---Gene Zubovich, Religion & Politics Lively and often entertaining prose. ---Catriona Kelly, Times Literary Supplement This splendid book skillfully reveals the changing nature of religion in the USSR, the limits of secularization under Communism, and the important place of spirituality in the twentieth century. Smolkin exposes the striking irony of how Soviet authorities found themselves trying to replicate the spiritual and emotional offerings of religion even as they sought to destroy it. --Paul W. Werth, author of The Tsar's Foreign Faiths: Toleration and the Fate of Religious Freedom in Imperial Russia This is a very important book, highly innovative and superbly researched. Smolkin has written nothing less than a history of the making--and subsequent unmaking--of Soviet atheism. A must-read. --Denis Kozlov, author of The Readers of Novyi Mir : Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past

^ top

Author's Bio

Victoria Smolkin is assistant professor of history at Wesleyan University.

^ top