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Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

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Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

2.3 (2019)

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    Available in PDF Format | Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million.pdf | English
    Martin Amis(Author)
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 of one of the most powerful belief systems of the 20th century -- one that spread through the world, both captivating it and staining it red. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of 20th-century thought: the indulgence of Communism by the intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginnings and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one-hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible.

The author's father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was a "Comintern dogsbody" (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then his closest friend (after the death of the poet Philip Larkin), was Robert Conquest, our leading Sovietologist whose book of 1968, The Great Terror, was second only to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. The present memoir explores these connections.

Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere "statistic." Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism.

From the Hardcover edition.

Koba the Dread is a book about Stalin and the past and present culpability of intellectuals rather than a personal memoir. It's personal to Amis because his father Kingsley became a card-carrying Communist in 1941 and remained so for 15 years: along with the majority of intellectuals everywhere hechose the big Stalinist lie over the truth. The only reasonable excuse for believing the Stalinist story, Amis suggests, is perhaps that "the real story-–thetruth—-was entirely unbelievable". The bulk of the book is taken up with the real story of Stalinism and--given the powerful subject matter and Amis'sliterary skill--one shouldn't be surprised to hear that it makes for a riveting read. Even if you are already familiar with the story the facts still stagger theimagination.

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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Martin Amis(Author)
  • Miramax Books; First Edition edition (July 2002)
  • English
  • 4
  • Biography

Review Text

  • By Dymphna on 8 July 2014

    This book should be on the National Curriculum.(For several reasons: to expose the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left in its apologetics (and worse) for Russia; to highlight that Stalin was every bit as evil and tyrannical as Hitler; and to demonstrate the value of our democracy, for all its faults, and what future generations stand to risk by political ignorance and apathy.)God knows what it cost Amis in researching for this book. The final product is an immensely painful and difficult read. (in terms of content: the style, the writing, and the message are impeccable.) I cannot imagine how haunted he must be by the mass of material he must have read. The torture, cruelty and inhumanity of the regime almost defy description. In a lesser writers hands it would have become an unreadable litany of unendurable pain. But Martin Amis is a great writer and I would argue this is his magnum opus. It starts with the premise; why is it okay to tell jokes about Communist Russia, but not Nazi Germany? and goes on to explain the reasons why with personal honesty, searing insight and absolute humanity. As well as, of course, rigorous and thorough research. (dear God - the research.) You will not forget this book - and that is the intention.An absolute must-read - of how theories become tyranny, and 20 million people are murdered as a result.

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