I hope all the book club members are enjoying their summer! Our June book is the delightful A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. We will be meeting in person to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM on June 24, 2017. Please join us, and/or leave comments below!
One of the most interesting facets of A Gentleman in Moscow is that it alludes to historical events that happen outside the hotel, but only obliquely. Here’s a timeline of some of the major events taking place in Russia during the Count’s stay at the Metropol Hotel. I’m summarizing events from a timeline on wikipedia which gives specific dates and lists many more events, with links for details.
1922 – 1930:
Russia expands its territory under Lenin’s leadership.
A famine kills an estimated 5 million people.
The hotel is turned into an office building and apartments for bureaucrats.
The 1924 constitution comes into effect. Lenin dies.
Stalin establishes the first gulag and announces state industrialization plans.
1930 – 1940:
The Metropol is restored as a hotel.
Collectivization is established by Stalin.
The Great Purge results in the establishment of the NKVD troika.
The Holodomor, a man-made famine, kills 7-10 million people in Ukraine. A broader famine throughout the Soviet Union kills millions more.
1940 – 1950:
Stalin orders Trotsky’s assassination
The Germans invade Russia, lay siege to Leningrad, and almost succeed in taking Moscow.
The Germans retreat (1944).
The Soviets capture Berlin.
In the immediate post-war era many countries change leadership and borders, often violently.
The Soviets develop their first atomic bomb.
1950 – 1960:
Stalin dies and Kruschev takes over.
The first Indochina War begins and the Korean War ends.
The Vietnam War begins.