From its very inception the Soviet state valued the merits and benefits of physical culture, which included not only sport but also health, hygiene, education, labour and defence. Physical culture propaganda was directed at the Soviet population, and even more particularly at young people, women and peasants, with the aim of transforming them into ideal citizens. By using physical culture and sport to assess social, cultural and political developments within the Soviet Union, this book provides a new addition to the historiography of the 1920s and 1930s as well as to general sports history studies.
Susan Grant is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of History and Archives at University College Dublin.
"The effort to create a New Soviet Person in 1920s and 1930s Soviet Russia targeted the body as much as the mind. Yet most historical investigations into the New Soviet Person focus on the former. So much so that the prevalence of the ‘soul’ in our academic lexicon gives the impression that the Bolshevik effort to engineer new people was merely pneumatological. But, as Susan Grant’s study of Soviet physical culture and sport reminds us, the corporal was just as much an object of Bolshevik concern. In fact, as Grant details, the body and mind of Soviet man were braided together, making physical culture one of the many ‘programmes of identity’ in revolutionary Russia." – Sean Guillory, University of Pittsburgh, Revolutionary Russia, 2014, Vol. 27, No. 1, 67–89