Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. His books include A People's Tragedy and Natasha's Dance.
One in eight people in the Soviet Union were victims of Stalin's terror-virtually no family was untouched by purges, the gulag, forced collectivization and resettlement, says Figes in this nuanced, highly textured look at personal life under Soviet rule. Relying heavily on oral history, Figes, winner of an L.A. Times Book Prize for A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, highlights how individuals attempted to maintain a sense of self even in the worst years of the Stalinist purges. More often than not, they learned to stay silent and conform, even after Khrushchev's thaw lifted the veil on some of Stalin's crimes. Figes shows how, beginning with the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the Soviet experience radically changed personal and family life. People denied their experiences, roots and their condemned relatives in order to survive and, in some cases, thrive. At the same time, Soviet residents achieved great things, including the defeat of the Nazis in WWII, that Russians remember with pride. By seamlessly integrating the political, cultural and social with the stories of particular people and families, Figes retells all of Soviet history and enlarges our understanding of it. Photos. (Oct. 2) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Wonderful ... an amazing panoramic view ... I've rarely read anything like it Claire Tomalin Awesome ... one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read. I defy anyone to read it without weeping at its human suffering, cruelty and courage ... a celebration of family love in an epoch of hellish cruelty ... now in this book these righteous heroes have their rightful memorial -- Simon Sebag Montefiore Mail on Sunday This is a heart-rending book ... its importance cannot be overestimated ... This book should be made compulsory reading in Russia today -- Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad A masterful account of lost and stolen lives Sunday Times
What private life? How Stalin's repression touched everyone, turning friends into denouncers and everyday citizens into collaborators. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.