Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
Between 1917 and 1953 people living in what came to be known as the Soviet Union were ruled by two of the most ruthless leaders in the history of the world. In Koba, the word itself a childhood nickname of Stalin's, Martin Amis is compelled, through his scathing prose and razor-sharp insight, to reevaluate the eras of Lenin and Stalin and the unbelievably broad scope of human suffering the two men caused. Illustrated with a remarkably dynamic patchwork of personal recollections, shocking accounts of gulag survivors, and revelatory historical texts and critical essays, Koba the Dread brings under scrutiny Lenin and Stalin's motives and actions. Amis returns again and again to the Collectivization and the Terror, making Koba the Dread a chilling analysis of the complicity necessary to eliminate nearly a half-billion people. But more than a tale of death and defeat, Koba is alive with the voices of survivors, and it celebrates the influence and power of the written word as both adversary and ally to Lenin and Stalin's purges. Amis remarks, "It remains an eternal mystery: what it is in people that lets them survive."
But even more than historical, Koba the Dread is primarily a personal meditation, continuing where Amis's memoir, Experience, left off. Amis explores the complicated political shift his father -- the poet, author, and critic Kingsley Amis -- underwent during his lifetime and his enduring and continued influence over Martin. Originally a vocal card-carrying member of the Communist party, Kingsley was such a vocal anticommunist by the time Martin was college age that he and his son would argue for hours about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Coming to terms with the carnage ofLenin and Stalin is, in many ways, coming to terms with the starkness of his father's change of heart, and his own.
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Review: Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty MillionUser Review - Eddy Allen - Goodreads
A brilliant weave of personal involvement, vivid biography and political insight, Koba the Dread is the successor to Martin Amis's award-winning memoir, Experience. Koba the Dread captures the appeal ... Read full review
Review: Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty MillionUser Review - Kevin - Goodreads
I have read a few books about Hitler and the Holocaust, most recently, Night by Elie Wiesel. I didn't know as much about Stalin. I remember when I was in high school hearing teachers say that we were ... Read full review
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