Velvet Totalitarianism: Post-Stalinist Romania Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

ISBN-13: 978-0761846932
ISBN-10: 076184693X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A deeply felt, deftly rendered novel of the utmost importance to any reader interested in understanding totalitarianism and its terrible human cost. Urgent, evocative, and utterly convincing, Velvet Totalitarianism is a book to treasure, and Claudia Moscovici is indeed a writer to watch, now and into the future. --Travis Holland, author of The Archivist's Story

Claudia Moscovici's  Velvet Totalitarianism triumphs on several levels: as a taut political thriller, as a meditation on totalitarianism, as an expose of the Ceausescu regime, and as a moving fictionalized memoir of one family's quest for freedom.

--Ken Kalfus, author of the novel A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

With style and wit, Claudia Moscovici tells a story of resilience and hope.  Velvet Totalitarianism is a novel well worth reading, both for its compelling narrative and for its important message. Michael Kort, Professor of Social Science

Claudia Moscovici offers her readers a multifaceted book--Velvet Totalitarianism--that is at once a love story, a political novel and a mystery. --Sanda Golopentia, Professor of French, Brown University

Velvet Totalitarianism is a book well worth reading. The novel is a page-turner, witty and well written.

  --Nicolae Klepper, author of Romania: An Illustrated History.

Moving between extraordinary and ordinary lives, between Romania and the United States, velvet totalitarianism and relative freedom, dire need and consumerism, evoking her Romanian experience in the seventies, the emigration to the U.S. of her family in the eighties, and the 1989 uprising in Timisoara and Bucharest that marked the end of Ceausescu's regime, Claudia Moscovici offers her readers a multifaceted book - Velvet Totalitarianism - that is at once a love story, a political novel, and a mystery. (Sanda Golopentia, professor of French, Brown University)

This vivid novel by Claudia Moscovici, historian of ideas and wide-ranging literary critic, traces a family of Romanian refugees from the stifling communist dictatorship of their homeland through their settling in the United States during the 1980s. This fascinating and compelling story is at home historically accurate, exciting, sexy, and a real page-turner. (Edward K. Kaplan, professor in the Humanities at Brandeis University)

Claudia Moscovici's first novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, triumphs on several levels: as a taut political thriller, as a meditation on totalitarianism, as an expose of the Ceausescu regime, and as a moving fictionalized memoir of one family's quest for freedom. (Ken Kalfus, author of the novel A Disorder Peculiar to the Country)

A deeply felt, deftly rendered novel of the utmost importance to any reader interested in understanding totalitarianism and its terrible human cost. Urgent, evocative, and utterly convincing, Velvet Totalitarianism is a book to treasure, and Claudia Moscovici is indeed a writer to watch, now and into the future. (Travis Holland, author of The Archivist's Story)

In Velvet Totalitarianism, Claudia Moscovici makes her readers viscerally feel the corrosive psychological demoralization and numbing fear totalitarian regimes impose on those who live under them. At the same time, with style and wit, and informed by her experiences as a child in communist Romania and then as an immigrant in the United States, she tells a story of resilience and hope. Velvet Totalitarianism is a novel well worth reading, both for its compelling narrative and for its important message. (Michael Kort, professor of social science at Boston University, author of The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath)

The author experienced totalitarianism personally while living in Romania with her family during the Nicolae Ceausescu regime. And many of her own experiencies find their way into her historically rich piece of fiction. (Heritage Newspapers, October 8, 2009)

Review

Claudia Moscovici's first novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, triumphs on several levels: as a taut political thriller, as a mediation on totalitarianism, as an ex pose of the Ceausescu regime, and as a moving fictionalized memoir of one family's quest for freedom.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1937 KB
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Publisher: UPA (July 29, 2009)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BZAOGI6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,430,655 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A Remarkable Story of a Family's Surviving the Totalitarian Regime in Romania

Claudia Moscovici's historical novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, has been acclaimed as "A deeply felt, deftly rendered novel of the utmost importance to any reader interested in understanding totalitarianism and its terrible human cost," by author Travis Holland, author of The Archivist's Story. This remarkable work makes the tortured history of Romania under the oppressive regime of Ceausescu come alive by tracing a family's struggle to survive the corrosive psychological demoralization of living under the yolk of the Securitate, the country's Secret Police.

We are introduced to the Schwartz family who live in fear of the power of the Securitate's loud interrogations, torture, rape, and severe beatings. Always on the alert, family members ask, "Were you followed home?" or pronounce, "Can't we enjoy life without worrying every single moment?"

We follow the oldest son of the Schwartz family, Radu, to Paris where he had been given permission to study chemistry at the Cite' Universitaire. He also takes a part-time job with Radio Free Europe and meets Ioana, an athletic raven-haired beauty. Their love blossoms but at a high cost for Radu. She introduces him to a "friend" who secretly works for the Securitate, someone who pressures Radu for information from Radio Free Europe. Tortured for not agreeing to spy on RDF, he soon disappears and loses contact with his family.

Meanwhile his father gets a teaching job in the United States and defects. His mother and younger sister apply for visas to join him; that action results in the mother's losing her job.
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There are very many versions of Romanian history, especially when dealing with the events leading up to the Romanian Revolution of 1989. So much happened, in fact, during the closing days of communism in Eastern Europe, that there is no one story of how it happened. This novel powerfully represents one scenario.

This fictional account, where the author even gave the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu the maiden name of his wife Elena Petrescu (perhaps to emphasize who the real power was in the country), is a story of how love can have many twists and turns in a society living in constant terror of the Securitate (secret police). Even though the state managed to force people to do things they wouldn't normally do, love finally emerges from the thorns of communism ... and the people carry on with their lives.

There are numerous theories about how the Revolution of 1989 started, including the premise proposed in the novel that the CIA played a part. Whether or not this scenario is true is immaterial. The novel is a moving picture of how it might have happened. I felt sad when the book ended because I wanted to hear more about the characters. I can only hope there's a sequel.
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Format: Paperback
Cold historical facts and figures tend to leave us emotionally indifferent. The impact of a nation's tragic events on one single person or family is much better understood and more profoundly felt. And this is what makes Claudia Moscovici's book so very special. Her novel, Reincarnation of Love, is prefaced by Velvet Totalitariasm, a very well researched history of Romania under Communism. Depending on one's point of view, Moscovici's work could be considered as the fictionalized story of a real Jewish-Romanian family under Communism, based on her own recollections and that of her family, supported by true historical facts; or a brief history supported by the fictionalized story of a real family. It's a book well worth reading. The novel is a page turner, it's witty, well written, and includes some touching portrayals of immigrant life in the United States as well.

Nicolae Klepper, author of 'Romania: An Illustrated History', a best-selling book published by Hippocrene Books, NY
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Format: Paperback
The title of this fantastic novel may stress its historical concerns, but don't be deceived: it is a riveting, suspenseful story replete with compelling, richly developed characters with whom you become intimate quickly, and whose predicaments immediately capture and concern you. Moscovici is a great writer: she is tackling many themes in this ambitious book, but the story itself, which draws you in from its opening pages and consistently builds intensity every step of the way, is always front-and-center and leaves a memorable impact. Moscovici writes so intimately that you feel as if you're in the story with her characters, not reading it. This is an unusual, exciting sensation, and a mark, I suspect, of truly great literature. I can't recommend this novel highly enough.
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Velvet Totalitarianism could be best described as a comic epic. This enjoyable novel tells the story of a family struggling to survive the repression of communist Romania during the Ceausescu regime.It has the ambitious range and tragic elements of an epic, while also being filled with touching anecdotes and humor: the laughter through tears kind that Eastern European writers are known for.This novel has it all. It's a story of survival that will move you, entertain you and inform you.
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