Orlando Figes' "The Whisperers" is a groundbreaking account of daily life in the chaotic and paranoid atmosphere of Stalinist Russia. Exploring the inner life of a Russia where everyone was afraid to talk and society spoke in whispers, whether to protect friends and family - or to betray them - Orlando Figes tells the story of how Russians tried ...
Orlando Figes' "The Whisperers" is a groundbreaking account of daily life in the chaotic and paranoid atmosphere of Stalinist Russia. Exploring the inner life of a Russia where everyone was afraid to talk and society spoke in whispers, whether to protect friends and family - or to betray them - Orlando Figes tells the story of how Russians tried to endure life under Stalin's Terror. Where a junior worker might inform on their superior to get their job; a husband to get rid of a lover; a neighbour out of petty jealousy. Where living a double life became the norm and yet, somehow, a few defied the state. Those who shaped the political system became, very frequently, its victims. Those who were its victims were frequently quite blameless. Drawing on hundreds of family archives from across the whole spectrum of Russian society, The Whisperers recreates the sort of maze in which Russians found themselves, where an unwitting wrong turn could either destroy a family or, perversely, later save it: a society in which everyone spoke in whispers - whether to protect themselves, their families, neighbours or friends - or to inform on them. "Wonderful ...an amazing panoramic view ...I 've rarely read anything like it". (Claire Tomalin). "Awesome ...one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read. I defy anyone to read it without weeping at its human suffering, cruelty and courage". (Simon Sebag Montefiore, "Mail on Sunday"). "This is a heart-rending book ...its importance cannot be overestimated...This book should be made compulsory reading in Russia today". (Antony Beevor, author Of "Stalingrad"). "A masterful account of lost and stolen lives". ("Sunday Times"). Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of "Peasant Russia", "Civil War", "A Peoples Tragedy", "Natasha's Dance" and "The Whisperers". He lives in Cambridge and London. His books have been translated into over twenty languages.
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Orlando Figes' "The Whisperers" provides a shocking insight into life in the old Soviet Union as ordinary people lived it day in and day out. In down to earth terms, the author details how the socialist establishment subverted family life with the goal of producing a compliant populace. Reading this book makes you appreciate the momentous nature of Russia's emergence from Communist tyrrany.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-23 One in eight people in the Soviet Union were victims of Stalin's terror-virtually no family was untouched by purges, the gulag, forced collectivization and resettlement, says Figes in this nuanced, highly textured look at personal life under Soviet rule. Relying heavily on oral history, Figes, winner of an L.A. Times Book Prize for A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, highlights how individuals attempted to maintain a sense of self even in the worst years of the Stalinist purges. More often than not, they learned to stay silent and conform, even after Khrushchev's thaw lifted the veil on some of Stalin's crimes. Figes shows how, beginning with the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the Soviet experience radically changed personal and family life. People denied their experiences, roots and their condemned relatives in order to survive and, in some cases, thrive. At the same time, Soviet residents achieved great things, including the defeat of the Nazis in WWII, that Russians remember with pride. By seamlessly integrating the political, cultural and social with the stories of particular people and families, Figes retells all of Soviet history and enlarges our understanding of it. Photos. (Oct. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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