Donald J. Raleigh
Soviet Baby Boomers
An Oral History of Russia's Cold War Generation
University Press 2012
The Cold War was experienced by millions around the world. For many, Soviets were the enemies, and nuclear war the threat. For millions more, however, the Cold War enemies and threats were different. In Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation (Oxford University Press, 2012), historian Donald Raleigh presents the conflict through oral histories of a generation growing up in during the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years. Through these accounts it is evident that the political and social landscape of Cold War Russia were radically different. While the official school curriculum taught to hate and to fear the capitalist West, the young generation often sympathized with the West, and many even adored Western culture. Travel to the Eastern Bloc and general disillusionment with the regime’s promises of prosperity all coalesced into a desire to experience more of the enemy, despite the legal consequences of doing so.
By the time Gorbachev loosened the grip preventing Western influence, the majority of the citizens growing up during the Cold War were ready for and desiring of such a change. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, it was music, underground culture, foreign broadcasts, and samizdat publications that informed the ideologies of these people. Dr. Donald Raleigh masterfully pries into the lives of the Cold War generation to tell a tale of something very different than enemies of the USSR might have imagined.