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Let History Judge Paperback – May 15, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0231063517 ISBN-10: 0231063512 Edition: Rev Exp Su

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 891 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Rev Exp Su edition (May 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231063512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231063517
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This weighty--physically and emotionally--book speaks volumes about the play of individual and group memory in a totalitarian society. It grew from notebooks and files secretly kept by the Russian historian Roy Medvedev on the history of his times, from the emergence of Josef Stalin as a leader in the 1917 Revolution to the dictator's death in 1953. Some of the documents Medvedev gathered, including memoranda on secret agreements with Nazi Germany, shocked Russian readers when these notebooks first began to appear in 1988, and his book became one of the primary documents of glasnost.

Review

A milestone in the understanding of nearly fifty years of Russian history.

(Harrison Salisbury The New York Times Book Review)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Quinn on January 17, 2014
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When I first read The Gulag Archipelago I spent a great deal of time with that book's bibliography. Let History Judge was one of the first books from that bibliography I bought. It has not disappointed me. Exhaustive and I'm pretty sure impartial (hard for me to tell since I don't speak Russian).
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2000
This book is a very thorough and well-written biography of Josef Stalin. It was one of the few books I read in college that I didn't mind reading. The information on Stalin's political and personal life gives the reader an opportunity to make informed judgements about Stalin's actions.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Yuli Martov on May 14, 2001
The late 1990's saw the publication of numerous scatterbrained, and ill-intentioned, attempts to descredit Vladimir Lenin, Nikolai Bukharin, Leon Trotsky, and Karl Marx, by associating their actions, and ideas, with those of Joseph Stalin. One must ask, "were these attempts in any way successful?" Luckily, the answer is an emphatic, no. The individuals who bought into the "Marx and Lenin created Stalinism" theory, alluded to in works such as 'The Black Book of Communism', by Mister Courtois (or Miss), 'The Passing of an Illusion', by Mister Furet, and 'The Soviet Tragedy', by Mister Malia, already harbored such fantastic illusions. Most of the population has no interest in Sovietology, so attempts at descrediting Lenin, Marx, Bukharin, and Trotsky, were, and are, virtually fruitless (I took a Public Speaking course at a local community college, and most of the students hadn't even heard of Lenin, Marx, or Trotsky!.)
To find true objectivity, on the subject of Sovietology, one must reach back into the distant past, and read Roy Medvedev's incredible, 'Let History Judge'. One could refer to Medvedev's writings, as "Solzhenitsyn, without the racism and bitterness"(a spew of biographies show that Solzhenitsyn is without question anti-semitic; however, this fact doesn't mean he's no longer one of the elite writers of the twentieth century). 'Let History Judge', is not so much a history of Stalin, but a history of Russia from 1917-1953.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rocco on April 8, 2014
Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism is Roy Medvedev’s magnum opus, and perhaps the most popular and highly praised biography of Josef Stalin and his era of totalitarian rule. Medvedev’s vast undertaking began in the 1950’s, and he shared drafts with friends and colleagues by the early 1960’s. By 1969, he published the book abroad. His motivation in writing a biography not only of Stalin, but of “the socio-political and economic conditions and social groups of which he based himself,” stemmed from “a rehabilitation of Stalin” in Soviet society and politics in 1969 and again in 1985 (p. xvii). The book, after numerous releases and rewrites, is the epitome of scholarly research on Stalin and his times. Medvedev turns the propaganda laden legacy of Stalinism on its head. Although he does not utilize privileged archives or secret sources, Medvedev exposes Stalin’s atrocities as well as the psychological composition of the man.
Likening Stalinism to a “disease” infecting Soviet society, Medvedev’s introduction explains the attempts to rehabilitate Stalinism in 1969 as well as in 1985. Not until 1986, Medvedev states, did the first criticisms of Stalin appear in Russian culture. Numerous films, books, magazines and plays attacked Stalinism and totalitarianism, pointing out crimes and atrocities. Such artistic ventures were also created from the 1920’s through the 1970’s, but were stamped out by the Communist Party or Stalin himself (except for a brief period under Khrushchev in the 1960’s). In 1987, Gorbachev spoke openly of Stalin’s crimes and abuse of power. By 1988, Perestroika and Glasnost paved the way for “change” (restructure) and “openness” (voice) in Soviet society.
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