The Great Terror: A Reassessment

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - History - 574 pages
4 Reviews
The definitive work on Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. Harrison Salisbury called it "brilliant...not only an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism, but a work of scholarship and literary craftsmanship." And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the former Soviet Union, where it is now considered the definitive account of the period.

When Conquest wrote the original volume, he relied heavily on unofficial sources. With the advent of glasnost, an avalanche of new material became available, and Conquest mined this enormous cache to write, in 1990, a substantially new edition of his classic work, adding enormously to the detail. Both a leading historian and a highly respected poet, Conquest blends profound research with evocative prose, providing not only an authoritative account of Stalin's purges, but also a compelling and eloquent chronicle of one of this century's most tragic events. He provides gripping accounts of everything from the three great "Moscow Trials," to methods of obtaining confessions, the purge of writers and other members of the intelligentsia, life in the labor camps, and many other key matters.
On the fortieth anniversary of the first edition, in the light of further archival releases, and new material published in Moscow and elsewhere, it remains remarkable how many of Conquest's most disturbing conclusions have continued to bear up. This volume, featuring a new preface by Conquest, rounds out the picture of this huge historical tragedy, further establishing the book as the key study of one of the twentieth centurys most lethal, and longest-misunderstood, offenses against humanity.
 

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User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

It is completely incomprehensible to most of us how systematic the nature of evil under Stalin can be. Perhaps only North Korea today can compare for the quantity, the extremity, and the sheer ... Read full review

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User Review  - ClaudiaMoscovici - LibraryThing

Psychopathy is usually analyzed as an individual psychological phenomenon. As we've seen, the term describes individuals without conscience, with shallow emotions, who are able to impersonate fully ... Read full review

Contents

BOOK I THE PURGE BEGINS
1
BOOK II THE YEZHOV YEARS
133
BOOK III AFTERMATH
443
Notes
491

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About the author (2008)


Robert Conquest is the author of some thirty books of history, biography, poetry, fiction, and criticism. The recipient of many honors and awards, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the British Academy, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is at present Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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