The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution

The epic story of an enormous Soviet apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction


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Jun 18, 2019
6.13 x 9.25 in.
416 b/w illus. 2 maps.
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The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment. Written in the tradition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Grossman’s Life and Fate, and Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Yuri Slezkine’s gripping narrative tells the chilling true story of an enormous Moscow apartment building where Soviet leaders and their families lived until hundreds of these Bolshevik true believers were led, one by one, to prison or to their deaths in Stalin’s purges. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews with survivors, and featuring hundreds of rare photographs, this epic story weaves together biography, literary criticism, architectural history, and fascinating new theories of revolutions, millennial prophecies, and reigns of terror. The result is an unforgettable saga of a building that, like the Soviet Union itself, became a haunted house, forever disturbed by the ghosts of the disappeared.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2018 PROSE Award in World History, Association of American Publishers
  • Honorable Mention for the 2019 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies, Nanovic Institute, University of Notre Dame
  • Winner of the 2018 George L. Mosse Prize, American Historical Association
  • Winner of the 2018 Norris and Carol Hundley Award, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association
  • Shortlisted for the 2018 Pushkin House Russian Book Prize
  • Selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Aug 24, 2017
  • One of The Spectator 2017 Books of the Year
  • One of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2017
  • One of The Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year 2017
  • One of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017
  • One of Open Letters Monthly’s “Our Year in Reading 2017
  • One of the Economist.com "Wise Words 2017 Books of the Year" in History
  • One of the Millions.com “A Year in Reading 2017: Stephen Dodson”
  • One of World’s 2017 Books of the Year in “History”
  • One of London Review Bookshop’s Best History Books, Christmas 2017
  • Selected for Le Monde’s “Monde des livres” 2017 (chosen by Nicolas Weill)
  • One of The Australian’s Books of the Year 2017 (chosen by Louis Nowra)
  • One of the Times Colonist Favorite Books of 2017 (chosen by Adrian Dix)
  • One of Mosaic's Best Books of 2018 (Ruth Wisse)