Ethan Pollock, "Without the Banya We Would Perish" (Oxford UP, 2019)

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In Without the Banya We Would Perish: A History of the Russian Bathhouse (Oxford University Press, 2019), Dr. Ethan Pollock discusses one of life’s basic questions—How do people get clean?—in a way that embeds those everyday practices into a sophisticated historical context.

From legends about medieval Kievan rulers, to everyday Russians in the Soviet era, the banya has been a consistent part of everyday life. While its existence has been continuous, the meanings assigned to the banya have been at once diffuse, contradictory, and reflective of prevailing cultural and political trends and questions. Dr. Pollock’s book addresses these themes and more, in this fascinating historical survey.

Aaron Weinacht is Professor of History at the University of Montana Western, in Dillon, MT. He teaches courses on Russian and Soviet History, World History, and Philosophy of History. His research interests include the sociological theorist Philip Rieff and the influence of Russian nihilism on American libertarianism.

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