The Voices of the Dead: Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s

The Voices of the Dead: Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s

by Hiroaki Kuromiya
     
 

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Swept up in the maelstrom of Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937–1938, nearly a million people died. Most were ordinary citizens who left no records and as a result have been completely forgotten. This book is the first to attempt to retrieve their stories and reconstruct their lives, drawing upon recently declassified archives of the former Soviet Secret

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Overview

Swept up in the maelstrom of Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937–1938, nearly a million people died. Most were ordinary citizens who left no records and as a result have been completely forgotten. This book is the first to attempt to retrieve their stories and reconstruct their lives, drawing upon recently declassified archives of the former Soviet Secret Police in Kiev. Hiroaki Kuromiya uncovers in the archives the hushed voices of the condemned, and he chronicles the lives of dozens of individuals who shared the same dehumanizing fate: all were falsely arrested, executed, and dumped in mass graves.

Kuromiya investigates the truth behind the fabricated records, filling in at least some of the details of the lives and deaths of ballerinas, priests, beggars, teachers, peasants, workers, soldiers, pensioners, homemakers, fugitives, peddlers, ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Koreans, Jews, and others. In recounting the extraordinary stories gleaned from the secret files, Kuromiya not only commemorates the dead and forgotten but also proposes a new interpretation of Soviet society that provides useful insights into the enigma of Stalinist terror.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Sun
[A] remarkable new study of the victims of Stalin's Great Terror ... [Kuromiya's] most important resources are the handwritten records of interrogations. These are extraordinary windows onto the darkest corners of modern history, documenting the mendacity, cruelty, and sheer stupidity of the Soviet regime.... It is a kind of poetic justice that those records, intended as evidence of the guilt of the victim, should now be used by Mr. Kuromiya to prove the guilt of the regime.
—Adam Kirsch
The Literary Review (London)
...Kuromiya's work really does allow the dead to speak.
—Donald Rayfield

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300123890
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Hiroaki Kuromiya is professor of history, Indiana University. He is the author of several books, most recently Stalin: Profiles in Power.

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