Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire Reprint Edition
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"...an extraordinary confluence of observation, hard work, knowledge, and reflection; a better book by a journalist on the withdrawing roar of the Soviet Union is hard to imagine." --The New York Times Book Review
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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All of this is brought to life through Remnick's persuasive and entertaining writing style. Consider his indictment of the Soviet Union's leaders in the Communist Party, KBG, and military who were culpable in an ideological and decades long lie, "the truth challenged their existence, their comfort and privileges. Their right to a decent office, a cut of meat, the month vacation in the Crimea - it all depended on a colossal social deception, on the forced ignorance of 280 million people."
His overriding thesis is based on the deception the leaders perpetuated, "When history was no longer an instrument of the Party, the Party was doomed to failure. For history proved precisely that: the Party was rotten to the core." He compares it to Oz, "a colossal mistake, and the only way to endure it was the perfection of irony." Irony, black humour, resigned acceptance and dicey alcoholism. In proving the latter he draws on Yerofeyev's novel, Moscow Circles, which drew on real life, "His greatest relief is in the mastery of the binge. He is an artful mixologist." This mixologist is the everyman of the Soviet Union who would drink nail varnish and lavender water (or bathtub gin, hair tonic, bug spray) in a pinch just to survive the grey, monolith that was the empire.
In order to maintain the totalitarian system, its leaders used the regular and secret police along with judges to maintain control. If that was threatening enough, your neighbor or own child may inform on you. All the while you spent your day waiting in line for bread and meat and years for an apartment, a phone, and a burial plot. Meanwhile, the leaders and party functionaries are labeled by Remnick as the largest and most abusive Mafia the world has ever seen. Even in far flung outposts of the Empire like Azerbaijan, these shameless officials live on vast estates. One fake Communist mucky-muck built his castle with thousands of slave labourers. The grounds eventually filled with peacocks and thoroughbred horses while the bedrooms held concubines.
The Gorbachev and Yeltsin saga is well-laid out and sadly farcical. I remember watching the news of the 1991 coup attempt. It was a surreal as they come. Yet, the Soviet Union was surreal in that 280 million people lived for decades as peasant hostages. A surreal Oz run by a ruthless Mafia who had the benign approval of millions. Even the most talented dystopian novelist could not invent the Soviet Union.
Remnick’s fascinating book contained detailed historical accounts from those who witnessed the chain-of-events of Stalinism.These person to person contacts were very moving. Stalin’s brutal regime was hard and ugly. It was difficult to understand and discouraging to read comments of admiration, living under this system, rather than scores of condemnation.
History enthusiasts should read this book for an in-depth knowledge of Stalinism and how it dramatized and excoriated the “soul” of its peoples and, what life was like under a despotic Communist ruler. I could not put this book down. It’s readable, interesting and tells a good story; chocked full of events from people who were “drivers” of the Communist world and of those who orchestrated its demise.
An extraordinary revelation of a perverted political system perpetrated upon the innocent. A very impressive book; should rank with the best. Strongly recommend.
Bruce E. McLeod, Jr.
Las Vegas, Nevada
11 April 2014
Top international reviews
2. Print quality is of third grade (blur printing, cheap quality pages etc)
3. It looks like pirated version which you may get at footpath for Rs. 250- Rs. 300/-
4. Purchased this during great Indian festival sale and regretted
5. It will frustrate you more if you collect books and want to keep them for a long period.
Conclusion:- Don't buy books online from Amazon and misuse money.
It is extremely sad reading about the shock of "remembering" and the "return of history" after decades of lies and so much pain and suffering.
Regarding amazon purchase the book is good but the words printed are small. Would have been good if the words are a little bigger.