Charts the personal dimensions of economic social change by examining the migration of Russian peasant women's from the village to the city in the years between 1861 and the outbreak of World War I.
University of Colorado historian Engel uses previously unavailable primary sources to provide a detailed account of Russian rural migration to the city. She gives special emphasis to the plight of women, noting that they are often overlooked in studies of Russian urbanization. Her picture of peasant life is grim: suffocatingly patriarchal families, abuse, poverty, and restrictive laws. Few women found utopia in the cities, however, where they faced double workdays, squalid quarters, alcoholism, increased infant mortality, and sexual harassment. Protections provided by the extended family were lost, leaving women powerless, impoverished, and exploited. Engel's thematic approach uses vivid case studies to buttress her statistics. She concludes that urbanization and industrialization were more advantageous to men. This absorbing, well-written study is highly recommended for academic and public libraries collecting Russian history and women's studies.-- Donna L. Cole, Leeds P.L., Ala.