Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators

Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators

by Jay Nordlinger


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What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?

Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.

Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.

Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand.

What would you do, if you were the offspring of an infamous dictator, who lords it over your country?

An early reader of this book said, “There’s an opera on every page”: a drama, a tragedy (or even a comedy). Another reader said he had read the chapter on Bokassa “with my eyes on stalks.”

Meet these characters for yourself. Marvel, shudder, and ponder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594038150
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 09/22/2015
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 847,406
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review. He writes about a variety of subjects, including politics, foreign affairs, and culture. He is the music critic of The New Criterion. His previous book is Peace, They Say, a history of the Nobel Peace Prize. The author lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

1 Hitler 1

2 Mussolini 5

3 Franco 25

4 Stalin 31

5 Tojo 57

6 Mao 65

7 Kim 79

8 Hoxha 87

9 Ceausescu 95

10 Duvalier 107

11 Castro 117

12 Qaddafi 131

13 Assad 149

14 Saddam 163

15 Khomeini 181

16 Mobutu 197

17 Bokassa 207

18 Amin 219

19 Mengistu 233

20 Pol Pot 237

Afterword 243

A Note on Sources 249

Acknowledgements 253

Photo Credits 255

Index 257

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