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The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead

by Nina Tumarkin
"A poignant, beautifully written account of the complex Soviet attitude toward World War II."—Christian Science Monitor


"A poignant, beautifully written account of the complex Soviet attitude toward World War II."—Christian Science Monitor

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wellesley history professor Tumarkin ( Lenin Lives! ) here explains how Stalin and his successors glorified the Soviet war against Nazi Germany by orchestrating a sanitized myth of heroic triumph intended to foster support for the Communist Party and an ailing economic system. The cult of the Great Patriotic War, she demonstrates, concealed the U.S.S.R.'s disastrous unpreparedness for the 1941 German invasion, which cost 30 million Soviet lives. Stalin's murder of tens of thousands of Soviet military commanders in a purge on the eve of the war, his use of the war as a pretext to crush dissent and nationalist separatisms and his scorched-earth policy are also omitted from the official cult. Based on the author's travels in Russia between 1978 and 1992, this illuminating and poignant study contrasts the managed myth of WW II with the unvarnished memoirs of writers, filmmakers and ordinary citizens. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Tumarkin (The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia, 1983) has successfully used personal sorrows to paint an accurate portrayal of the manipulation, by Stalin, of the Great Patriotic War (World War II). She shows in detail how history was distorted, contrived, and deliberately falsified to persuade the Soviet people to do heroic deeds. This falsified history covered up the tragedy of the Russian front, Stalin's purges, and the murder of millions of Stalin's enemies. Ironically, this falsification carries a threat for us. To quote David Remnick (Lenin's Tomb, LJ 6/15/93), musing on the accumulated effect of living with distorted or obliterated past: "In making a secret of history, the Kremlin made its subjects just a little more insane, a little more desperate." The cult of war continued through successive chairmen and party first secretaries until Gorbachev's glasnost. An excellent addition to academic and public libraries.-Harry Willems, Kansas Lib. System, Iola
Accuses officials of the Soviet government and the Communist party of reconstructing the trauma of death, privation, and terror during World War II into a heroic exploit that glorified socialist values and concealed mistakes by the leadership. Also shows how the image has vanished along with the Soviet Union during the 1990s. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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