A History Through Buildings
Landscapes of Communism is an intimate history of twentieth-century communist Europe told through its buildings; it is, too, a book about power, and what power does in cities.
'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' Will Self
During the course of the twentieth century, communism took power in Eastern Europe and remade the city in its own image. Ransacking the urban planning of the grand imperial past, it set out to transform everyday life, its sweeping boulevards, epic high-rise and vast housing estates an emphatic declaration of a non-capitalist idea. Now, the regimes that built them are dead and long gone, but from Warsaw to Berlin, Moscow to post-Revolution Kiev, the buildings, their most obvious legacy, remain, populated by people whose lives were scattered and jeopardized by the collapse of communism and the introduction of capitalism.
Landscapes of Communism is an intimate history of twentieth-century communist Europe told through its buildings; it is, too, a book about power, and what power does in cities. Most of all, Landscapes of Communism is a revelatory journey of discovery, plunging us into the maelstrom of socialist architecture. As we submerge into the metros, walk the massive, multi-lane magistrale and pause at milk bars in the microrayons, who knows what we might find?
“An epic, revelatory voyage into fantastical domains . . . vast factory-built housing estates, TV towers, the grandiose palaces and boulevards - Hatherley fills in these forms, and reveals their complexities . . . with insight, passion, humanity and wit”
Rowan Moore, Observer
“Intimate, witty and insightful”
Ian Critchley, Sunday Times
“Here are all the properties that have made him one of the most distinctive writers in England: acuity, contrariness, observational rigour, frankness and beautifully wrought prose . . . I can't think of anything remotely akin”
“A brave, incisive, elegant and erudite writer”
“Lively and entertaining . . . I recognised things I'd noticed myself; at other times, he showed me something I had missed or understood differently”
Sheila Fitzpatrick, London Review of Books