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Paperbacks: The Whisperers, by Orlando Figes
Friday 12 September 2008
Orlando Figes's masterpiece shows, in deeply researched but near-novelistic detail, the toll that Stalin's tyranny took on Soviet private life. Drawing on 400-plus interviews by Russia's taboo-breaking Memorial Society, enriched by records of all types, a heart-rending panorama of fear, shame and loss takes shape.
Over 30 years, the repression of 25 millions – from sacking through years in the Gulag to execution – almost killed a nation's soul. One common theme is the internalisation of official "guilt". These innocents, many of them Party stalwarts and their families, came to blame themselves. Kept from spouses and children, the toxic secrets of a "spoilt biography" poisoned home and society alike.
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Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
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