Book review: Iron Curtain, By Anna Applebaum


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The Independent Culture

This impressive work shows how Stalinism crushed the life, pleasure and efficiency from Eastern Europe after the war.

Following Lenin's maxim "small scale production engenders capitalism", family businesses were destroyed while state industries were spurred on with "work competitions".

In new cities like Sztalinvaros (Stalintown) in Hungary, workers lived in 10-to-a-room barracks. It comes as a relief to hear of the bikiniarze in Poland, jazz-loving rebels who wore "chives on scrambled egg" (green ties and yellow shirts).