- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Leon Aron… as he gives us stomach-wrenching details of these torments and portraits of the men who engineered them (beginning with first-rate essays on Stalin and the founder of the Cheka secret police, Feliks Dzierzynski, the son of a Polish nobleman, a fanatical Bolshevik and hollow-cheeked ascetic who subsisted on the diet of tea and bread to which he became accustomed as a prisoner in czarist jails), Rayfield, a professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London and the author of a very fine biography of Chekhov, manages to make this abstract and often unimaginable evil feel close and real. Layered with subplots and striking vignettes and filled with voices (both the victims' cries for help and the commissars' orders for more killing), the horrid saga acquires texture, color and an immediacy that will mesmerize readers almost despite themselves. One marvels at the sheer mastery of craftsmanship that has made this relentlessly depressing, often repugnant material into such a compelling tale.
— The Washington Post