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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Remainder mark Slightly yellowing page edges. / Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Harper Perennial / Pub. Date: 2004-02-17 Attributes: Book, 416 pp / Stock#: 2059119 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953 Paperback – February 17, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1ST edition (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060933100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060933104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,312,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though the Great Terror of the late 1930s is widely viewed as the height of Stalin's purges, the number of arrests actually peaked in the early 1950s, and Stalin was planning hundreds of thousands more on the eve of his death in 1953. These arrests were spurred by the "doctors' plot," a supposed conspiracy among Jewish doctors to kill members of the government and destroy the U.S.S.R. at the behest of the Americans. Brent, the editorial director of Yale University Press, and Naumov, executive secretary of Russia's Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Repressed Persons, trace how Stalin himself put together false evidence of the "doctors' plot," which was far more than a simple exercise in anti-Semitism and paranoid senility. According to the authors, Stalin intended to use the "doctors' plot" to accomplish several goals: to purge his Ministry of Security and upper ranks of government; to defuse the potential threat posed by Soviet Jews, many of whom had ties to the U.S. and the new state of Israel; and to provide fuel for an armed conflict with the U.S. Brent and Naumov provide a riveting view of Stalin's modus operandi: over the course of several years, he patiently and meticulously gathered forced confessions that would weave together unrelated events-the death of a top Party official here, the arrest of a Zionist doctor there-into a story of massive conspiracy. One of the reasons for his great care, the book contends, is that the popular mood had subtly shifted in the postwar era; revolutionary fervor had died down, there was a desire for legal legitimacy and, in contrast to their 1930s counterparts, top bureaucrats were loath to convict without evidence. One wishes that the authors had elaborated on fascinating points like these. Their narrative is a complicated one, full of minor characters and bureaucratic missives, and, by necessity, most of this narrowly focused book is taken up with close readings of documents.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Did Stalin die of a brain hemorrhage (the official word for 50 years) or was he poisoned, possibly to prevent an escalation of conflict with the U.S.? Examining previously secret documents, this book points out suspicious inconsistencies in official accounts of Stalin's death and fingers chief of secret police Beria as a likely assassin (although he's probably in collusion with Khrushchev and others). The authors' essential argument, however, details not how but why Stalin might have been killed. Brent and Naumov link Stalin's famously anti-Semitic "Doctors ' Plot," in which Jewish doctors were unjustly accused of conspiring to murder important politicians, to the ridiculous "plan of the internal blow," another alleged conspiracy of officials supposedly aiding an American plan to nuke the Kremlin itself. The authors argue that these Stalin-engineered plots were to be used by the paranoid dictator as justification for nuclear war. Tales of Stalin's paranoia are nothing new, but rarely are his subtle, yet relentless, machinations laid out in such intricate detail. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I found that could skip through many pages and find that the same events were being described yet again.
Marilyn J. Magnusson
Some very interesting books are emerging concerning the former Soviet Union now that their archives are open for scholarly investigation.
Barron Laycock
It is very well written and is worth the making of a movie for because of all the newly unveiled plot sequences.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on December 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When the Second World War was over in 1945, First Secretary of the Communist Party, Joseph Stalin seemed to be at a personal peak of power. Despite monumental losses of dead Russian soldiers and civilians, Stalin had led Russia to a victory over Hitler and National Socialism that left him in control not only in Russia but of all of Eastern Europe as well. Further, because of his earlier purges in the late 30's, there was no one left to challenge him either within the Communist party or outside it. Yet, in STALIN'S LAST CRIME, Jonathan Brent and Vladimir Naumov picture a Stalin who, by the time of his death in 1953, was far from the omnipotent ruler that most Russians assumed he was. Brent and Naumov present Stalin as a man who could not change to match changing times. When the war in Europe was over, Russia was not the insular country it had been just ten years earlier. An increasing number of Russians had an equally increasing contact with Western, and hence, democratic ideas and values. The horrors of the war reaffirmed in the collected minds of Russians of the need for a legitimate government that followed its rule of law. The once all consuming fear of Stalin had diluted to the point where some of his less visionary peers would dare to contemplate in the pages of PRAVDA no less of who would follow Stalin once he was dead. Finally, there was Stalin's health, which by the late 1940's had regressed to the point that his Politburo comrades might legitimately wonder about the line of succession. Stalin took note of all this and was determined to turn back the clock to 1937 when he could purge millions of his countrymen merely by snapping his fingers. But by 1949, he could not do so.Read more ›
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Some very interesting books are emerging concerning the former Soviet Union now that their archives are open for scholarly investigation. This book is certainly one of them, a well-written and carefully documented investigation of one of the darkest aspects of the Stalin era. No one, with the possible exception of Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany, was directly responsible for the deaths of more human beings during the 20th century than was Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union's first comrade, a brilliant psychopath so deluded in his paranoid fantasies that he suspected everyone, always, of continuous conspiracy and perfidy against him. His resulting excesses included the campaign of terror, first instituted in the 1930s, and the systematic purges that became an integral aspect of the terror campaign. During the 1930s alone, he is estimated to have worked millions to death in enforced labor camps, creating what is now described as a "Gulag" in recent books such as Anne Applebaum's recent book of the same name.
Yet although the Gulag and the terror campaign that supplied the bodies for its proliferation was most pronounced both before and during the Second World War, it was after the war that the extent of his murder and mayhem reached it horrific peak. Indeed, on the eve of his death in 1953, Stalin was actively planning to execute a bizarre and insane plan to kill hundreds of thousands of additional Russian citizens in what Jonathan Brent and Vladimir Naumov describe in their book, "Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against The Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953" as constituting what they refer to as the "Doctor's Plot".
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine-grained look at Stalinist terror. Based on original archival research by the authors and additional new information published primarily by Russian scholars, this book is a careful examination of the so-called Doctor's Plot, the last gasp of Stalin's systematic terrorization of Soviet society. The Doctor's Plot was a conspiracy fabricated by Soviet security organizations purporting to show an organized effort to undermine the Soviet State by destroying its leadership via negligent or murderous medical care. The Plot was viewed previously as an irrational and relatively (compared to the great purges, executions, and deportations of the 20s and 30s) minor aspect of Stalinist state terror. The authors argue that the Doctors' Plot was actually the likely prelude to a planned major convulsion that would reproduce many features of the great purges of the 30s. This is impossible to prove definitively but the authors make a good case that the Doctors' Plot was developed carefully by Stalin to eventually start a series of purges and trials that would result in a large scale terrorization of Soviet society. The authors also place the Plot in the context of other important Stalinist campaigns of the period, notably the anti-Semitic actions that preceded and are to some extent coincident with the events of the Doctors' Plot. In this case, the attack would expand to involve a wholesale assault on Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union. The authors conclude that Stalin pursued this end as a means of maintaining his absolute power and that only his death in 1953 prevented terrible atrocities on a scale with the crimes of the 20s and 30s. The result probably would have been something similar to the Cultural Revolution in China.Read more ›
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