Ian GarnerDec 26, 2022
Stories of Combat and Survival
McGill-Queen's Press 2022
In the fall of 1942, only the city of Stalingrad stood between Soviet survival and defeat as Hitler’s army ran rampant. With the fate of the USSR hanging in the balance, Soviet propaganda chiefs sent their finest writers into the heat of battle. After six months of terrifying work, these men succeeded in creating an enduring epic of Stalingrad. Their harrowing tales of valour and heroism offered hope for millions of readers. “Stalingrad lives!” went the rallying cry: the city had to live if the nation was to stave off defeat.
In Stalingrad Lives!: Stories of Combat and Survival (McGill-Queen's Press, 2022) Ian Garner brings together a selection of short stories written at and after the battle. They reveal, for the first time in English, the real Russian narrative of Stalingrad - an epic story of death, martyrdom, resurrection, and utopian beginnings. Following the authors into the hellish world of Stalingrad, Garner traces how tragedy was written as triumph. He uncovers how, dealing with loss and destruction on an unimaginable scale, Soviet readers and writers embraced the story of martyred Stalingrad, embedding it into the Russian psyche for decades to come. Featuring lost work by Vasily Grossman alongside texts by luminaries such as Konstantin Simonov, Viktor Nekrasov, and Ilya Ehrenburg, Stalingrad Lives offers a literary perspective on the Soviet Union at war.
Ian Garner is a cultural historian and translator in Kingston, Ontario. He completed his PhD at the University of Toronto in 2017 after studying at the University of Bristol and the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Follow Ian on Twitter.
Yelizaveta Raykhlina is a historian of Russia and Eurasia and holds a PhD from Georgetown University. She is a faculty member at New York University. To learn more, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.