War, Evacuation, and the Exercise of Power examines the history of the Pedagogical Institute, located in the USSR's Kirov region from 1941 to 1952. Holmes reveals a tangled and complex relationship of local, regional, and national agencies. While it recognizes the immense strength of the center, it emphasizes a contentious diffusion, although not a confusion, of authority. In so doing, it departs from traditional models of Soviet power with their neatly drawn vertical and horizontal lines of command. It also demonstrates institutional and personal behavior simultaneously consistent with and at odds with a triumphalist wartime narrative.