Barbara Jelavich Book Prize

2014 Citation Recipient

Katherine Lebow

The Barbara Jelavich Book Prize, established in 1995 and sponsored by the Jelavich estate, is awarded annually for a distinguished monograph published on any aspect of Southeast European or Habsburg Studies since 1600, or nineteenth and twentieth- century Ottoman or Russian diplomatic history in the previous calendar year.

Winner: Katherine Lebow
Title: Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism and Polish Society, 1949-56 (Cornell University Press)

Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, Katherine Lebow’s Unfinished Utopia explores the history of Stalinist and post-Stalinist Poland from a remarkable range of perspectives. Urban planners, workers, women, Roma, and youth all feature in this history of Poland’s Socialist new city, Nowa Huta. Lebow challenges the myth of the postwar era as a time of longing for quiet, apolitical “normalcy,” and demonstrates that many of the workers and citizens of Nowa Huta were deeply invested in the ideals of the early Stalinist era. When the experiment failed to meet their expectations, they developed a culture of protest that contributed to the emergence of the Solidarity movement. The book ultimately succeeds not only as a history of a single city, but as a broader exploration of the hopes and disappointments that characterized Stalinist society.