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Dacha Idylls

Living Organically in Russia's Countryside

Melissa L. Caldwell


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/28/2010)


Dacha Idylls is a lively account of dacha life and how Russians experience this deeply rooted tradition of the summer cottage amid the changing cultural, economic, and political landscape of postsocialist Russia. Simultaneously beloved and reviled, dachas wield a power that makes owning and caring for them an essential part of life. In this book, Melissa L. Caldwell captures the dacha’s abiding traditions and demonstrates why Russians insist that these dwellings are key to understanding Russian life. She draws on literary texts as well as observations from dacha dwellers to highlight this enduring fact of Russian culture at a time when so much has changed. Caldwell presents the dacha world in all its richness and complexity—a “good life” that draws inspiration from the natural environment in which it is situated.

Praise For Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia's Countryside

“[Caldwell’s] insight into Russian life is impressive. . . . The book undeniably deserves to be read and appreciated.”
— Europe-Asia Studies

"Valuable and accessible. . . . Dacha Idylls is an evocative and original examination of a central aspect of Russian life."
— Susanne Cohen

"Any future scholar working on modern Russian rural life would do well to read this book. It provides an excellent survey of the field."
— John Randolph

University of California Press, 9780520262850, 224pp.

Publication Date: October 28, 2010

About the Author

Melissa L. Caldwell is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia (UC Press).