Northern Illinois University Press


Bolsheviks and the Bottle

Drink and Worker Culture in
St. Petersburg, 1900–1929

Laura L. Phillips

"This solidly researched, well-written book represents a pioneering foray into this underexplored subject."
American Historical Review

"An innovative and fascinating exploration of St. Petersburg worker culture through the prism of drink."—Christine Worobec, author of Peasant Russia

This innovative study of drinking provides rich insights into changes and continuities in everyday life among revolutionary St. Petersburg's workers. Drawing on a wide array of previously untapped sources, Phillips sheds fresh light on issues of revolutionary change, class, and gender as she probes the tenacious resiliency of alcohol-centered culture in the face of state efforts at prohibition.

Readers will find a sophisticated examination of workers' drinking habits and tavern culture, reflecting broader issues of working-class identity and relations with authority. Through the prism of drink, Phillips juxtaposes the world of rank-and-file working men, where the steady flow of alcohol facilitated comradeship and celebration, against the goals of political activists who encouraged self-improvement through sober pursuits such as education and increased productivity. Because working men were husbands and fathers, Phillips also assesses the complex involvement of women and children with this drinking culture.

Phillips's provocative argument that revolution simultaneously empowered both champions and opponents of drink among the working class will invigorate scholarly debate about worker culture in Russia. Bolsheviks and the Bottle will appeal to readers interested in alcohol studies, gender issues, working-class culture, and Russian history.

(2000) 220 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-264-0
cloth $42.00

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Alcohol and the State
2 Meanings of Drink
3 Male Sociability in the Workplace
4 Functions of the Tavern
5 Women, Children, and Sobriety
6 Worker Culture and Revolutionary Legitimacy
Conclusion
Chronology
Notes
Sources Cited
Index

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-264-0
cloth $42.00