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Synopses & Reviews
Landscapes of Communism is a journey of historical discovery, plunging us into the lost world of socialist architecture. Recalling the work of W.G. Sebald and Rebecca Solnit, Owen Hatherley, a brilliant, witty, young urban critic shows how power was wielded in these societies by tracing the sharp, sudden zigzags of official communist architectural style: the superstitious despotic rococo of high Stalinism, with its jingoistic memorials, palaces, and secret policemenand#8217;s castles; East Germanyand#8217;s obsession with prefabricated concrete panels; and the metro systems of Moscow and Prague, a spectacular vindication of public space that went further than any avant-garde ever dared. Throughout his journeys across the former Soviet empire, Hatherley asks what, if anything, can be reclaimed from the ruins of Communismandmdash;what residue can inform our contemporary ideas of urban life?
“In the craven world of architectural criticism Hatherley is that rarest of things: a brave, incisive, elegant and erudite writer, whose books dissect the contemporary built environment to reveal the political fantasies and social realities it embodies.”
“Hatherley has a wonderful eye for buildings and space, a good grasp of the history that spawned them, and a deft way of describing them…Iand#8217;d better take his book, big though it is, in my backpack next time I go to Warsaw, Lviv, Bucharest or elsewhere in the old Soviet empire. I might even throw out Sytin and take it to Moscow.”
and#151;London Review of Books
“[Hatherley’s] grasp of twentieth century social and cultural history is impressive, and he has created a witty, intimate and insightful book.”
and#151;Sunday Times (London)
“Owen Hatherley goes in search of socialism via an epic and insightful study of Eastern bloc architecture.”
and#147;Hatherley takes us on an extraordinary tour of architecture in what could loosely be called the ex-Iron Curtain countries.”
About the Author
- Publication date:
- New Press