4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A pathology report that will break your heart,
By A Customer
This review is from: Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire (Paperback)
Lenin's Tomb is an autopsy of sorts, performed by one present during the last death throes of the Soviet Union. There are ultimate causes of death (a non-functioning economy), as well as underlying factors (a history of repression, totalitarian rule) contributing to this body politic's demise.
Imagine a coal mine with no elevator in the shafts so the miners have to walk 2 hours to get to their place in the mine where they can start working. The kicker: they don't get paid for travelling to and from their place in the mine. Imagine Soviet prisoners of war released after WW2, only to have Stalin send them to labor camps because he was afraid they had lived too long under foreign influence.
There are stories of people who were part of the system yet tried as much as they could to follow their conscience so they could somehow bridge the chasm cleaving their souls in two. Remnick describes hardliners, people who genuinely long for the days of Stalin, and with a compassionate eye, tries to describe the world they have lived through and now find themselves orphans of sorts in the new order.
I was amazed that so many lived and died so miserably for so long. Remnick's research, interviews and astonishing eye for detail makes the faceless numbers who lived through 70 odd years of the Soviet Union come alive and lets the reader share in their trials and their triumphs.